4th ‘Bakunahan’ drive targets 1.8-M vaccinees

The government is aiming to vaccinate against the coronavirus 1.8 million individuals in the fourth “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” drive, a health official said.

In a message to reporters Tuesday night, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the upcoming national vaccination drive (NVD) from March 10 to 12 is “contextualized” in consideration of areas with low vaccination rates and coverage.

“Further, individuals due for second doses, the remaining senior citizen population (A2), as well as adolescents are among those set to be prioritized in the upcoming NVD4,” she said.

She added that the Department of Health is working with the Department of Labor and Employment and the Civil Service Commission to cover and excuse employees from being absent if they are scheduled to get vaccinated on March 10 to 12.

In response to the statement of presidential candidate Dr. Jose Montemayor that Covid-19 vaccines can only produce artificial immunity for three months, Vergeire said the DOH reiterated that inoculation, combined with strict adherence to the minimum public health standards, still provides maximum protection against the coronavirus.

The DOH earlier said all Covid-19 jabs provided with emergency use authorization by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration have undergone research and testing and have been proven to be safe and effective for public use.

On the administration of the booster shots for individuals who are eligible to receive it, Vergeire said the primary series of vaccines have waning effectiveness over time.

“According to studies, bodies hit a ‘ceiling of immunity’ after the third dose (booster shot). This increases the antibodies’ ability to block the Omicron from infecting cells,” she said.

Meantime, individuals who are not part of the high-risk groups reach an upper limit for their antibodies after receiving a booster shot.

Health experts worldwide have repeatedly said that vaccinated and boosted individuals, especially those with comorbidities, have protection against severe Covid-19 and from getting hospitalized.

To date, a total of 137,085,697 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide.

Some 69,229,939 individuals were given the first dose of the vaccine; 63,793,957 are fully vaccinated and 10,616,590 have received booster shots.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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