MANILA – The government is actively monitoring the country’s border to prevent local transmission of the new Covid-19 strains, such as the Delta and Lambda variants, causing concern to the nation.
President Rodrigo Duterte gave the assurance after health officials around the world expressed alarm about Lambda, a Covid-19 variant that has swiftly spread across South America.
Delta variant was first discovered in India, and has spread to over 100 nations.
Local health officials, on the other hand, stated there is no local case of the Delta variant in the Philippines.
Duterte reiterated his call for the people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, citing it is the best prevention measure against respiratory disease.
“Our best defense is still to be vaccinated as soon as possible. I reiterate my appeal: Please get vaccinated as soon as possible. The life you’ll be saving is not only your own, but of your loved ones and the people around you,” he said in a pre-recorded meeting Talk to the People.
He also praised the country’s Covid-19 vaccination effort for its speed.
“I am pleased to know that as of July 11, more than 3 million Filipinos have received the second dose and with the total of more than 13 million doses so far administered in the country,” he said.
Duterte advised the public to maintain following minimum public health precautions like wearing face masks, face shields, hand-washing, and physical distancing.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Eric Domingo assured in the same meeting, that even if the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines is diminished due to the emergence of more infectious variants, they will still be effective against these new strains.
Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sputnik V, and Moderna are the Covid-19 vaccine brands that are currently in the Philippines’ inventory and have been cleared for emergency usage.
“Ang mga variant po, nababawasan ng konti yung effifacy ng vaccine pero hindi naman po siya nawawala. Nagiging very useful pa rin po (The variants have reduced the efficacy of vaccines but they are still very useful),” Domingo said.
In response, Duterte stated that it is “consoling” to know that the vaccines still have a “fighting chance” of averting deaths and severe illness caused by Covid-19.
“It seems that we are a little bit safe. Not really totally safe, but I said it is very consoling to hear from you that the present vaccine[s] we are using are as effective although not to its full degree, but rather could give us a minimum of comfort that there is available vaccine and it can be used against the variants,” he said.