No room for complacency vs Delta variant, Hontiveros tells gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday said government needs to amp up its vaccination rollout in order to avoid the local transmission of more transmissible coronavirus variants, such as the Delta variant that was first identified in India.
In a statement, Hontiveros urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Department of Health (DOH) not to be complacent, and instead speed up and double down on vaccination to increase the country’s vaccination rate, noting the surge of COVID-19 cases across the globe due to the Delta variant.
“May laban ka sa Delta kung bakunado ka. Kaya bilis-bilisan na dapat ang rollout ng mga bakuna. Garantisadong proteksyon yan para sa ating mga kababayan. Accelerating our vaccination efforts and avoiding complacency are the top two ways to make sure we are a step ahead of Delta,” Hontiveros said.
(You could have a fighting chance against the Delta variant if you are vaccinated. This is why we need to speed up the rollout of vaccines. This guarantees protection for the citizens. Accelerating our vaccination efforts and avoiding complacency are the top two ways to make sure we are a step ahead of Delta.)
Hontiveros pointed out that health experts say that the most contagious variant still puts fully vaccinated people at a small risk of hospitalization and death.
Further, the senator claimed that the IATF has had many chances to “get ahead and stay ahead of COVID-19” but the agency has always been lagging behind.
“From imposing timely travel bans, to securing clearance for vaccine deals, to assuring a steady supply of vaccines, lagi na lang naghahabol ang IATF. Dapat hindi na yan maulit dito sa kaso ng Delta variant. We must not be caught off-balance. This must not get out of control,” she said.
(From imposing timely travel bans, to securing clearance for vaccine deals, to assuring a steady supply of vaccines, IATF has always been running behind. This should not be repeated for the Delta variant case. We must not be caught off-balance. This must not get out of control.)
According to GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations), a public-private partnership aimed at giving poor countries access to immunization, the Delta variant was said to be 40 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant first detected in the United Kingdom, which is already 60 percent more transmissible than the original Wuhan, China virus.
As of June 21, there are 17 cases of the Delta variant in the country.
Protect healthcare workers
The senator also urged DOH to create “a more robust plan” to protect healthcare workers (HCWs), especially those who were vaccinated with Sinovac as reports display growing international concern due to vaccinated medical professionals in Indonesia still contracting severe cases of COVID-19 despite having received full Sinovac vaccine jabs.
“Magkusa na dapat ang DOH. Nasaan na ang plano para sa mga HCWs na naturukan ng Sinovac? Kahit hindi nila maranasan ang malalang epekto COVID, mapipilitan silang lumiban sa trabaho habang nagpapagaling. We cannot afford any more disruptions in our health care system during a pandemic,” she said.
(DOH should take the initiative. Where is the plan for HCWs who were administered a Sinovac vaccine? Even if they do not experience severe effects of COVID, they will be forced to stay off work while they recover. We cannot afford any more disruptions in our health care system during a pandemic.)
Hontiveros also stressed that the IATF must swiftly respond to the vaccination concerns of local government units amid the cases surge outside Metro Manila.
Galvez recently revealed that the government has sealed what is so far its biggest COVID-19 vaccine purchase deal with the signing for the delivery of 40 million doses of Pfizer vaccine.
As of June 13, DOH reported a total of 6,948,594 doses of COVID-19 vaccine that have been administered nationwide with 1,879,694 fully vaccinated citizens. — Faith Yuen Wei Ragasa, Inquirer trainee
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