An infectious disease and health expert said Sunday there could be no more variant as “devastating” as the more contagious Delta strain.
Dr. Rontgene Solante, in an interview over dzBB, said he hoped there would be no more heavily mutated variant similar to Omicron.
“Let’s say there may be a variant. I don’t think that another variant will be devastating as the Delta will be here soon within the year because Omicron is already heavily mutated. And I hope this will be the last among the heavily mutated variants,” he said.
Nonetheless, Solante said the government must protect the unvaccinated, who are at risk for severe infection.
“We should protect the unvaccinated because those who have severe symptoms, even with the Omicron, can still die because they don’t have protection,” he said.
Solante said there were pros and cons in scrapping the facility-based quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers and returning overseas Filipinos amid the spike in coronavirus disease infections.
He said the vaccination rate in the country was still low which means the unvaccinated are at risk and cases might increase.
“There’s that concern that the unvaccinated can still contract the virus, and there could be many cases,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health said it was preparing 32 “kid-friendly” vaccination sites for its “Resbakuna Kids” campaign, the inoculation of children aged 5 to 11 years old against COVID-19, starting February 4.
Health Undersecretary and National Vaccination Operations Center chief Myrna Cabotaje said the vaccination drive, using a reformulated dose of the Pfizer-Comirnarty vaccine, would initially cover the National Capital Region (NCR) followed by selected areas in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and Central Luzon, beginning February 7.
Among the 32 vaccination sites are the National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Children’s Medical Center and Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City.
The Manila city government had earlier proposed to include the renovated Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden or Manila Zoo as a jab site.
“Regardless of the location, the site must be prepared to handle any eventuality and that it should offer a pleasant experience to our kids,” Cabotaje said.
She said an initial supply of 780,000 doses of vaccine was due to arrive in the next few days followed by sustained weekly deliveries in the next two quarters.
The government has procured 15 million doses of vaccine for the target inoculation of 15.5 million children.