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Vaccination still best defense against Omicron variant— Galvez

MANILA -- As nations across the globe implement stricter border control measures to prevent the entry of Omicron, a top official of the Philippines’ pandemic task force emphasized anew the need to get the COVID-19 jab.

According to National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. getting vaccinated and observing minimum health standards are the best defense against the newest COVID-19 variant of concern.

“Bakuna at disiplina ang ating magiging solusyon sa pandemya,” Galvez said during his visit to vaccination sites in the province of Bulacan on Tuesday.

He further stressed: “Ibig sabihin, ang gagawin natin— vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. And then we will maintain our minimum health standard.”

The Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa, has been classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.

Galvez said the national government, in close coordination with local government units, has started to put in place the necessary measures in preparation for the eventual entry of the Omicron variant.

“Nagkaroon tayo ng meetings with our IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), at nagkaroon tayo ng adjustments sa ating border control,” he said.

“We have also made preparations with our pandemic response — ‘yung mga ospital natin, personnel, ICU, mechanical ventilators, we reconstituted and reorganized katulad ng ginawa natin sa Delta (variant),” Galvez added.

Bulacan among priority vaccination sites

On the second day of the “Bayanihan Bakunahan: Ligtas. Lakas. Buong Pinas” National Vaccination Days, Galvez oversaw the vaccination rollout in Bulacan, a province that is crucial in realizing the government’s goal of achieving population within the year.

“Isa ang Bulacan sa mga probinsyang tinututukan ng pamahalaang nasyonal sa Region 3 kasi ito yung pinakamalapit sa NCR at kasama na rin ang mga kapitbahay ng Metro Manila sa CALABARZON,” Galvez said.

Data from the National Vaccination Operations Center showed that Region 3 has administered around 300,000 jabs during the first day of the national vaccination days on November 29.

Meanwhile, Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando reported that a total of 1,168,226 residents or about 45% of the province’s 2.7 million target population is already fully-vaccinated.

“Patuloy nating papaigtingin ang panawagan para sa malawakang pagbabakuna. Sa pamamagitan nito, hangad nating makabalik ang lahat ng Bulakenyo sa bagong normal na buhay,” Fernando said.

Around 1 million of the targeted 9 million jabs to be administered during the 3-day vaccination drive is expected to come from Region 3.

“Naniniwala akong kayang kaya ng Bulacan at inyong mga karatig bayan dito sa Central Luzon na maabot ang bilang na ito o di kaya ay lagpasan pa,” Galvez said.

Based on partial and unofficial figures from the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC), a total of 2,898,903 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered on the first and second days of the National Vaccination Days.

Of this figure, 2,425,581 were administered as first doses, 408,690 as second doses, and 64,632 as booster shots or additional doses.

Galvez said these numbers are expected to go up as reports from other LGUs throughout the country come in and are posted on the Vaccine Operation Reporting System.(National Task Force against COVID-19)

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

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Central Office

Information Officer III under the Office of the Deputy Director-General-Digital Development Communications Unit of Philippine Information Agency. 

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