Not yet over: Filipinos encouraged to remain vigilant as we learn to live with COVID

Senator-elect Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday encouraged all Filipinos to complete their COVID-19 vaccinations and avail themselves of booster shots amid fears of another big wave of infections nationwide.

“Di pa tapos ang pandemic, kaya I encourage all Filipinos to get their booster shots, and for the government to make vaccines more accessible, katulad ng ginawa natin earlier this year with the bakuna drives,” Cayetano said on June 27, 2022.

Cayetano pointed out that even as the country has shown remarkable improvements in living with the COVID-19 pandemic through a nationwide vaccination campaign and calibrated restrictions imposed by local governments to prevent massive infection waves, the government must continue making vaccines available to people in order to prevent a big spike in cases.

“The pandemic isn’t over yet, and getting people vaccinated has been the best action we’ve taken to keep our case rate low. Let’s get people boosted kasi hindi na talaga natin afford na mag-lockdown ulit, in any part of the country,” he said.

Cayetano made his comments just as the OCTA Research Group warned that the Philippines could see up to 2,000 new COVID-19 cases daily by the end of June or the first week of July if current rates of infection do not change.

Reports indicating that the rising positivity rate in Metro Manila and other major population centers in the country are adding to the anxiety over a new coronavirus wave.

Metro Manila’s current positivity rate of 5.5 percent is above the 5 percent benchmark set by the World Health Organization to indicate that COVID-19 infections are being effectively contained.

This week’s increase in the number of coronavirus infections nationwide was driven by a rise in cases recorded in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, Batangas, Quezon, Benguet, and parts of Western Visayas.

While 70.2 million Filipinos have had a complete dose of the coronavirus vaccine, only 14.8 million people have received a booster shot, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Health. 

Cayetano had warned the country’s pandemic managers as early as January that lowering our guard too early amid the pandemic would not help in dealing with the then-spreading Omicron variant as well as other possible future variants of COVID-19.

“Nagtatrabaho naman talaga ang gobyerno, lalo na y’ung local government, o IATF, pero y’ung mindset kasi parang matatapos na ang pandemic, may bakuna na, may gamot na, eh all the doctors have been telling us, we have to live with COVID, hindi basta mawawala ito,’” Cayetano said in a January 10, 2022 interview.

“We cannot innovate, we cannot adapt kung ang parati nating iniisip ‘matatapos na’ (if our mindset is that the pandemic is about to end),” he added.


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