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Will We Have A Better Christmas This Year? Here Are COVID-19 And Vaccine Updates As Of October 2021

Will We Have A Better Christmas This Year? Here Are COVID-19 And Vaccine Updates As Of October 2021
Image by Towfiqu Barbhuiya / Unsplash

It has been almost 19 months since the Philippines first went on lockdown, and to this day we are still in a constant push and pull with significant public healthcare improvement and better days for everyone.

The government has repeatedly said that the goal is to achieve herd immunity, which is the only way to go back to “normal.” According to Mayo Clinic,Herd immunity can be reached when enough people in the population have recovered from a disease and have developed protective antibodies against future infection.” Are we on track?

Here are the latest COVID updates in the Philippines:.

COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Out

The first COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out through the different local government units (LGU) early 2021. The prioritization started with the healthcare front liners, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities then later included essential workers and the rest of the adult population. Recently, of the government has approved the vaccination of the general public, including minors.

Around 46.7 million doses have been administered so far, which assumes that around 24.6 million are fully vaccinated. This makes up 21 to 22 percent of the Philippine population. At the current rate, another 10 percent of the population will be fully vaccinated in 2 months.

Booster Shots

Considering the mutation of the virus into different variants, booster shots were also in the making.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Studies show that after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus may decrease over time and be less able to protect against the Delta variant.

“Although COVID-19 vaccination for adults aged 65 years and older remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggest vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms.”

At the moment, only those who received Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are recommended to get booster shots. However, people who were inoculated with the Moderna, Janssen, and other vaccines will likely need a booster shot too. Data about these vaccines’ booster authorization have not been released.

The CDC says, “People aged 65 years and older and adults 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, and can also increase for adults of any age with underlying medical conditions.”

“Residents aged 18 years and older of long-term care settings should get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,” the CDC adds.

The expected side effects of the booster shot are more or less the same as the first two dosesalthough these may be rare after receiving the primary 2-shot series.

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COVID-19 Cases Trend

As of this writing, there are a total of 115,328 active cases in our country. While there are still a lot, the average number of reported new positive cases daily went down by more than 7,100 in the past three weeks.

Philippines ranks last in global COVID-19 recovery index

The Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index is a system that ranks the countries' pandemic response and recovery based on vaccine rollout and infection management, among others. The higher the ranking, the better the pandemic response, and thus, the higher likelihood of economic recovery. For September, the Philippines ranked 121st. "Less than 30 percent of the population is vaccinated, low even among ASEAN countries," says the report, even as it noted that the daily new cases have started to drop. 

Current Lockdown Restrictions

By the end of September 2021, lockdown restrictions for the first half of October were announced. “Status quo for pilot area National Capital Region as Malacañang announced the extension of the Alert Level 4 quarantine classification system from October 1 to 15,” One News wrote in a post.

Metro Manila, together with Apayao, Bataan, Batanes, Bulacan, Cavite, Iloilo City, Kalinga, Laguna, Lucena City, Naga City, and Rizal are under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). The rest of the country are under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

Christmas Season 2021

People are hoping for an improvement in our current situation especially since Christmas is only two months away. “I share the optimism that we might be in for a good ending to the year, a good Christmas. We might be seeing the endgame for the Delta variant…not yet right now, but it’s already unfolding,” OCTA Research fellow Guido David said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News on September 27.

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