Give priority for vaccine shots to 2.5m elderly citizens, WHO urges Manila - GulfToday

Give priority for vaccine shots to 2.5m elderly citizens, WHO urges Manila


An elderly women receives a dose of coronavirus vaccine in Manila. File

Manolo B. Jara, Correspondent

A World Health Organisation (WHO) official on Friday urged the government to continue giving top priority to the estimated 2.5 million senior Filipino citizens, aged 60 or over, who have yet to receive their coronavirus vaccine jabs.

In particular, Dr Rabendra Prasad Yadav, the acting WHO resident representative in the Philippines, called on local officials like governor and mayors “should do everything possible to vaccinate the elderly.”

“Vaccinating older people is one of the most important and impactful ways to save lives during a pandemic. We know that senior citizens are at high risk for developing severe disease, getting hospitalised and dying from COVID-19,” Yadav told a public briefing.

Yadav cited data indicating that 2.5 million elderly Filipinos have yet to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine jabs amid the ongoing government campaign for a nationwide inoculation. Estimates are that of the total 10.5 million senior citizens, 60 per cent have been fully vaccinated and 70 per cent their first dose.

Also on Friday, the Department of Health (DoH) reported that the daily COVID-19 infections have dropped to just 3,788 with active cases, meaning those needing treatment below the 100,000-mark at 91,147.

The DoH said this brought the national COVID-19 case count to 3,630,637. It added recoveries soared to 3,484,636 from 5,652 who just got cured while the death toll stood at 54,854 from 72 new fatalities.

The DoH pointed out that the continued significant drop in confirmed daily COVID 19 infections indicated that the country’s inoculation programme has been making a large dent against the inroads made by the highly infectious Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa.

The WHO has confirmed that Omicron has replaced the Delta variant, first detected in India, as the dominant strain in the Philippines through community transmission. With the drop in cases, businessmen and other sectors urged the government to impose on Metro Manila and other areas the more relaxed Alert Level 1 from Level 2.

But Dr Maricar Limpin, the head of the Philippine College of Physicians, cautioned against relaxing the COVID-19 protocols by imposing Alert Level 1 in Metro Manila, also known as the National Capital Region with a population of more than 13 million.

Limpin warned that such move could lead to another surge in COVID 19 cases in the region “It’s better that we

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