AS the number of daily coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go advised all eligible Filipinos to get vaccinated and others to take booster jabs for added protection against Covid-19 and its variants.
Go, who heads the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, cited data from the Department of Health (DoH) showing that new infections rose to 37,207 on January 14, the highest single tally reported since the pandemic started.
The DoH also registered a positivity rate of 47.3 percent, which meant that nearly one out of every two individuals who were tested turned out positive.
“To the unvaccinated but qualified, have yourselves inoculated in the nearest vaccination center in your area,” encouraged Go in Filipino.
“To the vaccinated individuals who are already qualified for booster shots should also get themselves boosted. According to studies made by experts, a booster would provide additional protection against the most transmissible Omicron variant,” he continued.
The senator added that the emergence of the Omicron variant has emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted.
“I am encouraging everybody to have themselves vaccinated. It is on record that those tested positive with serious symptoms were mostly unvaccinated individuals,” said Go.
Health experts have found that receiving two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine alone significantly reduces one’s risk of developing severe symptoms or dying as a result of the virus. Despite the sharp spike in infections, the country’s case-to-hospitalization rate is currently lower compared to previous surges.
A recent study by the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University also revealed that an additional dose of an mRNA-based vaccine can provide immunity against the Omicron variant.
The government has administered around 117.3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of January 13. Some 54.5 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated while 58.5 million have received their first dose. More than 4.4 million have obtained their booster shots.
On this note, Go reminded Filipinos to religiously observe basic health protocols, such as using masks in public, social distancing and regular hand washing, in order to further minimize their risk of infection.
Go, however, pointed out that these strategies will only work if everyone cooperates. Experts found that the proper use of masks alone decreases the risk of catching and spreading the virus.
“Public health is the responsibility of all and not only of the government. Let us do our share and be part of the solution. Let us expand our knowledge of the symptoms of the disease and if you are feeling something, it is better that we avoid going out of the house to ensure that we do not transmit the disease to others,” added the senator.
Go reiterated his appeal to the public not to let their guards down. He stressed that everyone is responsible for keeping each other safe. He also underlined the importance of continued public support to help the government balance public health and economic interests.
“For now, many places in the country were placed under Alert Level 3 because of this situation. What we want to do is to have a balance between our health and the economy. We should not allow another lockdown because we need our businesses to recover from what has happened in the past two years,” said Go.
“This balance will also ensure that our healthcare system will collapse. We have seen the difficulty that our health care workers underwent at this time. Without them, we have no one to go to during our health needs…let us help one another,” he added.