‘Treat it like Delta’: Public told to protect themselves amid Lambda variant threat
MANILA, Philippines — While the Philippines has so far only recorded one case of the COVID-19 Lambda variant, the public should already take steps to protect themselves as this may be similar to the highly contagious Delta variant, an infectious disease expert and a member of the country’s vaccine experts panel urged Monday.
Dr. Rontgene Solante said that the make-up of the Lambda variant is seen to be similar to the Delta variant and could be just as highly transmissible.
“We have to protect ourselves as what we are experiencing with Delta, we need to treat this as something like Delta,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
“We need to enhance our vaccination rollout, protect ourselves and always comply with the health protocol,” he added.
Solante acknowledged that the country’s genomic biosurveillance is not yet “very wide” at this point; thus, the public should already take steps to protect themselves.
He further encouraged senior citizens and persons with comorbidities to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent developing a severe form of the disease.
Meanwhile, he urged individuals from a younger population to stay fit so as to maintain their protection against the disease.
“As of now, I’m still highly positive that the vaccines can still be effective against this Lambda variant,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
“I think for one to be fit, without comorbidities, younger population, you have more robust response to the vaccine and your immune response can still protect you from any of these variants of concern or interest,” he added.
Solante said the country can consider booster shots to amp up the protection of the vaccines against variants, but this depends on the country’s supply.
Should the Philippines go for booster shots, it must be focused on a specific population where there is a higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection and not the general public, he added.
“If we are going to recommend a booster, then probably it’s not for the general public. It should be for a specific population where the risk of getting the infection and developing a more severe infection will be higher,” Solante said.
The Philippines recorded its first case of the Lambda variant, which has been classified as a “variant of interest” last June 14 after laboratory studies showed it had mutations that resisted antibodies created by vaccines.
The Department of Health (DOH) said the case was a local case.
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