Unvaccinated Filipinos warned anew of Covid-19 infection risk

DAVAO CITY—If unvaccinated Filipinos think the Covid-19 pandemic is over due to more relaxed protocols in many places now in the country, they should think again.

“You are still at risk of getting the Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease, despite the low positivity rate in Davao City,” Dr. Michelle Schlosser, spokesman of the City Task Force on Covid-19 warned, as the country braced for a forecast surge in the early part of the first semester.

This period would cover the high complacency attitude among Filipinos as they basked on their first frolicking summer after two years of movement restrictions and the uncontrolled crowding of people during electoral campaign for the May 9 national and local elections.

Schlosser said unvaccinated residents stand highest chance at ending in serious and critical care in an event of a likely surge at the start of the first semester.

The warning came as Europe and some Southeast Asian countries like Hong Kong and Singapore have to grapple with a surge that already lasted for more than a month already, mostly emerging from the unvaccinated sectors. Their medical care facilities have long been overwhelmed.

“All we have to do is to have our vaccine for protection from the severity of the disease. This is what we have been urging the public…if you can prevent death, prevent it and have your vaccine now,” Schlosser said.

She added that people in one community must protect each other from further transmission.

Based on the data from the Covid-19 Vaccination Cluster, the city has administered 1,324,280 first doses, and 1,302,405 second doses of the vaccines, which are 86.50 percent and 85.07 percent, respectively, of the 1,531,004 or 80.67 percent of the city’s total population.

However, only 240,672 or 18.48 percent got their booster doses as of April 12.

Davao City Vaccination Cluster Head Dr. Josephine Villafuerte said that while the numbers of vaccinated individuals were high, they would push to reach 80.67 percent new target from the 80 percent initial target.  “This is to help achieve the national goal of 89 million to 90 million Filipinos fully vaccinated,” she said.

Villafuerte said the majority of the remaining unvaccinated individuals were senior citizens and children 5 years old to 17 years old.

While the city projected the surge to be sometime in June or July, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH) expected a surge as early as the middle of May citing a drop by 7 percent on Filipino compliance nationwide of health protocols like wearing of face mask. Nationwide, compliance dropped by 12 percent.

The WHO office here also warned that it would be “very shortsighted” to assume that the lower cases of infections the past weeks would be taken by Filipinos as “absolute lower risk.”

The city task force also warned that while cases here were below the acceptable positivity rate, “the fact that we still have cases means that we still have an enemy.”

“That is the reason why we remain strong in our call on the wearing of face masks and avoiding high-risk behaviors like going out for social gatherings,” Schlosser said.

She said the data from April 10 to April 16 showed a recorded death of one unvaccinated person due to a severe case of Covid-19.

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