Vigilance remains the order of the day

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

Whether the DOH reports only a few cases or more of the variants having slipped into our country, what is most important is for everyone to remain vigilant against the Covid-19 virus and its variants. The virus is still here and, most likely, its variants may already be in several areas of our country.

Your best protection: Continue to follow the same health protocols. Stay home if possible, wear masks, keep social distance, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing, wash your hands when you come from outside. And please, have your vaccination soonest.

Public information and reminders about containing the virus/variants should be regularly, widely disseminated.

When asked for her advice to the public about the variants, our high school classmate, Dr. Soki Cruz Yanez, who is involved in Covid research, shared this:

“There are many Covid VOC (variants of concern) coming out due to repeated mutations of the virus. The most feared is the Delta variant because of its heightened transmissibility (2-3 times the usual) and the ability to infect even younger individuals.

“There are vaccines that have been studied re: efficacy vs Delta variant. The best are the mRNA technology (Moderna and Pfizer). AZ vaccine also shows it can protect from these variants. Sinovac has lower protection.”

The excerpts below, posted by Senator Risa Hontiveros and taken from a panel presentation of Dr. Rontgene Solante based on studies abroad, may help give a general overview about the various Covid-19 vaccines and their efficacy:

“Pfizer is 95% effective vs symptomatic Covid-19, 94% vs hospitalization and severe disease (for fully vaccinated individuals), 98.1% vs death (two weeks after 2nd dose) and effective vs VOC (variants of concern, alpha, beta, delta).

“Astrazeneca is 70.4% effective vs symptomatic Covid-19, 100% vs hospitalization and severe disease (again, for fully vaccinated individuals), 94% vs death (for 65 years old & above), and effective vs alpha and delta.

“Sinovac is 65-91% effective vs symptomatic Covid-19, 100% vs severe Covid-19 disease and hospitalization, 86.3% vs Covid-19 related deaths, and effective vs.alpha (lower neutralizing antibody for Beta).

“Moderna is 94.1% effective vs symptomatic Covid-19, 94% vs. hospitalization, no available data but can prevent death since it can decrease risk of severe disease, and effective vs alpha, beta, and delta.”

While vaccines may present varying data about their efficacy, what is important is that the vaccines are effective vs Covid-19, hospitalization and severe disease for fully vaccinated individuals.

This was the advice of Dr. Jemiel Genesis Piquero to our family and clan:

 “Just a little input on the Delta variant: While it is more contagious and deadly, a big chunk of the victims, i.e. moderate-severe patients and even those who perished, are and were people who were unvaccinated.”

Meaning to say, the risk of acquiring the Delta variant is not as high and worrisome for fully vaccinated people, even with Sinovac, as the Lancet, which is a very prestigious medical journal would finally publish.

So mask up always because the Delta variant is not anymore a wash your hands and don't touch your face thing. It is freely floating in the air we breathe. Again, the Delta variant is a battle vs the unvaccinated. Take care and God bless.

To reiterate, follow health protocols and get vaccinated. Vaccination will not only protect you but you will also help protect others.

Please convince all in your family/community/workplace/church, etc. to be vaccinated soonest. Please check with your LGU about how, where and when to avail of Covid-19 vaccination in your area.

Remember: “A mask is better than a ventilator, home is better than ICU, and prevention is better than cure.”

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