DOH says vaccines still effective vs Indian COVID-19 variant
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Wednesday allayed fears that the new Indian variant of COVID-19 will lessen the efficacy of the vaccines.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the new Indian variant has a similar mutation to the South African variant, which has an effect on neutralizing antibody.
“When we say neutralizing antibody, ito po yung mga nabubuo nating antibodies maybe because of natural infection ‘pag nagkasakit po kayo ng COVID-19 o di kaya ay nabakunahan kayo ng COVID-19 vaccine,” Vergeire told Teleradyo in an interview.
(When we say neutralizing antibody, these are the antibodies that we develop maybe because of natural infection when we get infected with COVID-19 or when we get vaccinated against it.)
However, she clarified that the variant’s mutations will not render the vaccines completely useless.
“Pero hindi naman sinasabi na totally zero at mawawala na po ang epekto ng bakuna sa inyo, so ito po ay makakaapekto pero ang sinasabi pa rin ng eksperto, gagana pa pa rin ang proteksyon na ibibigay satin ng bakuna so tuloy-tuloy lang po ang pagbabakuna natin.”
(But we are not saying that vaccine’s efficacy will be totally lost. It will have an effect, but experts still say that it will still give protection so we we will continue vaccinating the public.)
Vergeire added that mutation is part of the cycle of a virus, and it will continue to mutate as long as it finds a host.
“That’s the normal cycle of the virus. Kaya po tayo, para po mas mapigilan ang pasok ng mga variants, and mapigilan pa ang pag-mutate ng virus, pababain natin ang mga kaso para wala siyang mahahanap na host,” Vergeire explained.
(That’s the normal cycle of the virus. So in order to prevent the entrance of the variants and stop the virus from mutating, we need to lessen the cases so it will not find a host.)
Two confirmed cases of the Indian variant were reported in the country on Tuesday, but both have already recovered and returned home, according to authorities.
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