Robredo calls to speed up vaccinations as more variant cases detected

Robredo calls to speed up vaccinations as more variant cases detected
Health workers continue the inoculation of second dose of Sinovac vaccine to residents at mega vaccination site in Marikina Sports Center on July 13, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday urged government to ramp up vaccination efforts as more cases from COVID-19 variants were detected in the country.

The call came after the Department of Health reported 16 new cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant last week. Some 34 in total of the infections had already recovered, while one had died.

Robredo in her weekly radio show stressed that improving inoculations are now more crucial as neighboring countries Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand are seeing a surge in cases due variants.

"Our vaccination numbers have improved," she said in Filipino over dZXL. "But we should be faster so we get ahead of these variants coming in."

Some 5.78% or 4,047,792 of the target population have completed their two doses as of July 14, per government figures.

There are now also 14.32% or 10,026,722 who received their initial shot. Officials are looking to vaccinate up to 70 million this year.

As additional cases from the variants were reported, so too did new vaccine doses reached the Philippines.

That includes 3.2 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's single shot jab, a donation from the United States coursed through the COVAX Facility.

Robredo said these doses should be sent to areas where the Delta variant has been detected, such as Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, and Metro Manila, to name a few.

"The good thing here is it is only one dose unlike others where you still need another," she said, still in Filipino. "If they use up all the doses, that's also 3.2 million individuals fully vaccinated."

"My suggestion is prioritize areas where there is danger of having a local transmission of the Delta variant," Robredo added.

The vice president also sought for additional support to the Philippine Genome Center. 

She noted that the institution had to prioritize samples from hotspot areas due to limited capacity in screening for possible variant cases.

"It means there could be more than 35 Delta cases undetected," she said. "So they need more support as some individuals could be going around who are not tested."

Apart from the Delta, authorities said there are also 21 active cases of the Beta variant, or that first detected in South Africa. 

Some 20 active cases of the Alpha variant, first seen in the United Kingdom, also remain.





As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 22, 2021 - 1:41pm

A thread on new variants of SARS-CoV-2 reported in the Philippines.

July 22, 2021 - 1:41pm

The Department of Health announces the detection of 12 new local cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, bringing the total to 47. Six from Central Luzon, three from Metro Manila, two from Calabarzon and one from Bicol Region.

All Delta cases have been tagged as recovered, but their outcomes are being validated by our regional and local health offices. — Christian Deiparine

July 16, 2021 - 11:05am

The Department of Health says it has confirmed 16 cases of the Delta variant in the Philippines. Of those case, 11 are considered local transmissions.

May 30, 2021 - 5:13pm

Another nine UK variant cases of COVID19 were detected in Kalinga prompting the Kalinga Provincial Health Office to reiterate to the public to maintain vigilance and strictly compliance to health protocols.

According to the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit of the Center for Health Development Cordillera, the newly identified cases were from the five towns, one each from Rizal, Pasil, Tanudan and Lubuagan. Four cases meanwhile were detected in Kalinga's capital, Tabuk City.

Kalinga has logged a total of 19 UK variant cases since it got into the country last January 2021. —  The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 29, 2021 - 3:37pm

The Department of Health announces new cases of the following variants detected in the Philippines:

  • 1 B.1.617.2 (Indian) variant,
  • 104 B.1.1.7 (UK) variant
  • 137 B.1.351 (South Africa) variant,
  • 4 P.3 variant
May 15, 2021 - 5:41pm

The Department of Health records an additional 10 cases of B.1.617.2 or the variant first detected in India. As of this writing, 12 cases of this variant have been detected in the Philippines. 

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