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Delta variant no laughing matter

Take the Delta variant seriously. Get your vaccines. National Task Force Against Covid-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon said yesterday these are crucial to curb the spread of the more transmissible coronavirus variant.

“We need to take seriously this Delta variant that is already circulating in various cities here. We have seen the experience of other countries. We need to prepare for it and we need to be open to all options and what can be done more,” Dizon said in an interview at the Laging Handa press briefing.

All decisions must be guided by the experts, he said, because responding to the Covid-19 pandemic must be a balance between the health aspect and the socio-economic impact.

“The Delta variant is really very dangerous so we really have to prepare well and speed up our vaccination,” he said.

He assured the government is taking all necessary steps against the possible spread of the Delta variant, including stockpiling more medical supplies, preparing intensive care unit beds and regular patient beds, and intensifying inoculation activities.

“We have seen the experience of other countries hit by the Delta that once you are vaccinated, especially with two doses, that means you are fully vaccinated, then the variant will have minimal effect on you,” Dizon said.

To date, the Department of Health said there are still 16 active Delta variant cases in the Philippines, out of the total 119.

Of the 119 carriers, 29 were unvaccinated, six were fully vaccinated, seven received one dose, and the 77 others were still being verified.

Meanwhile, the NTF Against Covid-19 targets to “narrow down the gap” in the administration of doses between the first and second shots of the coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines as more jabs continue to arrive.

The NTF reported an increase in vaccination output for senior citizens (A2) and adults with comorbidities (A3) after the rollout of the single-shot Janssen vaccines yesterday.

There are now 1,863,955 elderly and 2,382,461 under the A3 priority group who are now fully protected against the disease.

The DOH said both sectors must be vaccinated as soon as possible as they are the most vulnerable to severe symptoms.

“There are more first doses deployed. There was a time when the first dose outnumbered the second dose by eight million,” the NTF said in a statement.

The National Vaccine Operations Center likewise reported that, as of Tuesday, there were 131,686 administered with the first dose and 527,343 who have received the second dose.

“Our objective is to narrow down the gap between the first and second doses. This is a very good precedent in our vaccine rollout, especially now that our vaccine supply inventory continues to increase,” NTF chief Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

To date, the Philippines has received 31,360,700 doses from six pharmaceutical companies – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac, Gamaleya Research Institute, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

Over 27 million doses were already deployed across the country.

Set for delivery this week are 2.5 million doses of government-procured Sinovac vaccines and 415,000 doses of AstraZeneca donated by the United Kingdom.

“We are praying for the continued arrival of vaccines in the country for us to sustain the high number of people being inoculated daily. We are on track in our target to pursue a better Christmas this year and hasten our exit from this pandemic,” Galvez said.*PNA

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