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EDITORIAL - Super spreaders

EDITORIAL - Super spreaders

(The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2021 - 12:00am

Waiting in line at an inoculation center to get the first dose of a COVID vaccine does not give you immunity. Even after receiving the first dose, infection is still possible. And accompanying persons can’t get immunity through osmosis, by proximity to a vaccinee.

So it’s of utmost importance to ensure that all COVID health safety protocols, including proper physical distancing, be strictly observed as vaccinations get underway. No crowding must be allowed, and no walk-in persons because this could inspire a stampede.

The situation is worse at sites where lockdown aid or ayuda is being distributed. How hard is it to manage the arrival of beneficiaries in a barangay? It shouldn’t take rocket science to estimate the amount of time needed for the process of obtaining the ayuda per person. So it shouldn’t take rocket science or extraordinary managerial skills to be able to assign specific times for only small groups of recipients to be at the center at any given time.

As can be seen in news reports and social media posts, however, these simple, sensible things are not being followed in many facilities being used for vaccination and distribution of aid.

Amid the continuing surge in infections, the situation has become so worrisome that the Department of Health had to issue a warning: without strict adherence to safety protocols, the vaccination and aid distribution programs can turn into COVID super spreader events.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire warned: “We are not seeing a reduction in cases. We are still averaging 10,000 to 11,000 cases per day. We foresee that this may still persist in the coming days.”

The OCTA Research Team has also warned that the pathogens behind the current surge, including several types of variants, are not only far more infectious but also more fatal, with deaths jumping exponentially over the past two weeks alone.

People need both vaccine and aid, but these can be provided systematically and safely, without aggravating the risk of infection. There is already enough misery going around. Every infection prevented is a life saved, and no effort must be spared in preventing more sickness and death.

COVID-19 VACCINE
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