MANILA – More Covid-19 vaccines will be distributed to areas where the Delta variant of Covid-19 cases has been found.
The immunization campaign in Northern Mindanao (Region 10), the National Capital Region (NCR), Western Visayas (Region 6) and other regions of concern will be prioritized, according to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Chief Implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19.
“Because of the Delta, we are redeploying our vaccines to the Delta variant area of concerns in Region 10, in NCR, in Region 6 at saka (and) po ‘yung mga (those under) ECQ and MECQ (enhanced community quarantine and modified enhance community quarantine) areas,” he said during a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao on Monday night.
According to the President, there is also the possibility of imposing tighter measures to prevent local spread of the variant that is reported to be more aggressive and lethal.
The Delta variant, which was initially detected in India, is 60% more transmissible than the original strain and the most frequent Alpha variant (B.1.1.7. UK lineage).
Experts said that a person infected with the original strain can infect two others, but a person infected with the Delta variant can infect up to eight people.
Galvez said there is equitable distribution among non-areas of concern, based on the projected eligible population for the vaccination program in the local government units.
The NCR receives the bigger supply of vaccines due to its large target population and high susceptibility to Covid-19 infection, followed by Region 4-A (Calabarzon) with 1.2 million doses, Region 3 (Central Luzon) with 1.2 million doses, and Region 7 (Central Visayas).
“Very fair po ang ginagawa po natin sa distribution. It is based on the targeted population and also it is based ‘yung sa mga priority targets po natin na mga sector (We are very fair in our vaccine distribution. It is based on the targeted population and also it is based on the priority targets per sector),” he said.
Galvez said the municipalities of Tawi-Tawi and Basilan received 30,000 doses on Monday from the 300,000 doses for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, following the arrival of 3.2 million doses of single-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines, through the US-COVAX donation sharing agreement.
At the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental, the Department of Health-10 also received 26,660 doses of the J&J vaccine on Monday.
“We will support (areas with Delta variants) so that we can have immediate protection as soon as possible because this is a race against time and we wanted that while the Delta variant is mutating, we are now vaccinating the vulnerable,” Galvez said.
He advised Gingoog City Mayor Erick Caosa that they should amend several rules from the omnibus quarantine guidelines to strike a better balance between public health standards and economic activities.
In Gingoog City, at least one Delta variant case has been confirmed.
“You (Cañosa) know best for your constituents,” Galvez told the mayor during the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (Code) Team meeting on Monday, also attended by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, and health officials of the two cities.
The NTF will visit General Santos City, according to Galvez, to evaluate the status of the city’s border control measures and immunization program.
He mentioned the possibility of the Delta variant entering the city because it is regularly visited by Indonesian and Malaysian fishermen.