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NVD 4 allows more areas to shift to Alert Level 1; PH gov’t to closely monitor developments on ‘deltacron’ variant

MALACANANG, Manila --  The fourth leg of the government’s National Vaccination Days (NVD) has enabled more areas across the country to scale up their vaccination throughput and meet the requirements so they can be placed under Alert Level 1.

Starting March 16, nine more areas have been allowed to shift to the loosest alert level, on top of Metro Manila and 38 others, as they met the requirement of fully vaccinating a majority of their senior citizens.

The new areas that have shifted to Alert Level 1 include Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Batangas, Lucena City, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Ormoc City, Tacloban City and Butuan City.

During President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Talk to the People public address on Monday, Presidential Adviser on COVID-19 Response Secretary Vince Dizon said this positive development is a result of the latest NVD conducted by the government.

"This is very timely, Mr. President, kasi kailangan po talaga nating paandarin ang ating ekonomiya para labanan ang mga problema natin tulad ng pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo at kuryente," he added.

"We are trying to push all other provinces and cities to really achieve these levels of vaccination so that they can also deescalate to Alert Level 1 at the soonest possible time, hopefully within this month, so that they can all help the economy move forward," he added.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. reported that 1,400,889 vaccine doses were administered during NVD 4.

The regions that administered the most number of vaccine doses during the latest massive vaccination drive were Central Luzon, Metro Manila, CALABARZON, Central Visayas and Ilocos Region. NVD 4 started last March 10 and will end on Friday, March 18.

Galvez acknowledged the invaluable contribution of private sector organizations in the success of NVD4, particularly companies which participated in the “Jabs in Job Sites” program.

“We want to acknowledge the participation of different private clinics, the Philippine Medical Association, the Bureau of Corrections, the churches and the religious sector, ang ating mga BPO, CHED at DepEd, mga uniformed personnel, private sector, different LGUs and other volunteers. Marami pong salamat sa inyong partisipasyon sa NVD 4,” Galvez said.

A total of 139,454,246 doses have been administered nationwide as of March 16. Of this number, 64,838,213 Filipinos are now fully vaccinated, while 11,291,687 individuals have received booster shots or additional doses.

The vaccination for the pediatric sector also continues to gain momentum, with nearly 11 million individuals aged five to 17 receiving at least one dose.

This number is expected to increase further, following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for the Sinovac vaccine to be used for those aged six to 17 years old, pending the release of the final guidelines from the Department of Health and the Health Technology Assessment Council.

Monitoring the Deltacron variant

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque clarified that there is still no confirmed case of the Deltacron variant in the Philippines.

Deltacron is a recombinant of the Delta (AY.4) and Omicron (BA.1) variants. A recombination occurs when there is a co-infection of the same host by the two distinct variants. This emerged due to the circulation of both variants for several weeks.

“Pero hindi nangangahulugan agad na ito ay mas nakahahawa, mas peligroso o mas mabangis kumpara sa kanyang parent variants,” Duque explained.

“Ang ating mga kasalukuyang istratehiya laban sa Omicron ay magiging epektibo pa rin sa banta ng recombinant variant na ito. Sa kasalukuyan, hindi pa ito naitatala sa ating bansa at nananatiling nananaliksik ang ating experts upang higit na maunawaan ang kabuuang katangian ng deltacron,” he added.

Ramping up booster shots

To build an additional layer of protection against the virus, Galvez emphasized the need to ramp up the administration of booster shots, which has declined recently despite a high vaccine willingness rate of 80%.

“We have to highly encourage our government workers and economic frontliners to get their booster shots. Second, mag-provide dapat tayo ng possible incentives for people with boosters,” Galvez said.

“Lastly, nire-recommend po ng ibang business sector na booster shots may be a requirement for travel and entering establishments,” he added. (National Task Force against COVID-19)

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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