DOH preps for potential holiday surge; says vaccination still best weapon vs Covid-19

Published September 22, 2022, 6:40 PM

by Seth Cabanban

The Department of Health (DOH) is actively monitoring the possibility of a holiday Covid-19 surge, and is focused on bolstering its vaccination and booster program, according to Marikina City 2nd district Rep. Stella Quimbo.

Quimbo is the Senior Vice Chair of the Committee on Appropriations and the sponsor of the DOH budget.

During the House plenary budget debates on Thursday, Sept. 22, Camarines Sur 3rd district Rep. Gabriel Bordado asked the how the agency had been preparing for a Christman surge, noting the uptick in Covid-19 cases during the 2021 holiday season.

“While the use of mask is now optional outdoors as per the recommendation of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force). It could be recalled that late December 2021 up to January 2022, we experienced a high surge of Covid-19 cases, most probably exacerbated by Christmas celebrations,” Bordado said as he began his interpellation.

“With December fast approaching and the mask mandate easing up, how is the DOH ensuring that we don’t experience a similar surge again?” he asked.

Quimbo, sponsor of the DOH budget, assured the plenary of the agency’s vigilance for a potential holiday surge.

“It’s our second week of implementing this policy of optional mask wearing and, of course, nakamanman ang ating ahensya kung tataas ba ang Covid cases dahil dito and, of course, actively monitoring sila sa possibility (The DOH is monitoring if the Covid-19 cases will increase because of this policy and, of course, they are actively monitoring the possibility),” Quimbo said in response.

“In the medium term, ang talagang makakapagbababa ng (the best way to reduce) cases in a sustainable way is really the vaccination program,” she added.