We raise our voice in calling on the people who have not received their vaccine jabs as yet to take advantage of the government’s second three-day round of vaccination which starts on December 15.
This call should be heeded as we approach the Christmas holidays, plus the fact that the World Health Organization-designated coronavirus variant named Omicron, which has spread to 25 countries suggests, African scientists busy in their laboratories have said, a high rate of reinfection of people who had the coronavirus.
The heavily mutated variant is feared by scientists to be the most contagious yet, and is thus far the dominant form of the deadly coronavirus in South Africa and is spreading fast – Canada and the United States have each detected one case entering their respective borders.
In the Philippines, at least one, a returning Filipino migrant worker from South Africa before news of the Omicron discovery was disclosed, is being closely monitored by health authorities.
During the first of the nationwide anti-COVID-19 vaccination drive, at least 7.6 million individuals were inoculated – more than 2.71 million individuals on Monday, 2.46 million on Tuesday, and 2.45 million on Wednesday under the National COVID-19 Vaccination Days program.
While the reports are not yet complete, per Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, authorities are happy this is more than twice the government’s daily vaccination rate.
South African scientists say a past coronavirus infection appears to give little immunity to the new Omicron variant rippling across the globe, potentially tearing away one layer of defense that humanity has won slowly and at cosmic cost.
Just a week after its existence was revealed to the world, the heavily mutated variant, which scientists fear could be the most contagious one yet, is already by far the dominant form of the virus in South Africa and spreading fast, according to officials there.
Top European disease experts said last week that it could be the dominant form in Europe within a few months.
Later in the week, Omicron had been detected in 25 countries on six continents, and experts say it will soon be in every populated corner on earth.
This means a world already battered by two years of pandemic and – until recently – harboring hopes for recovery is instead headed for another wave of cases.
On November 26, 2021, WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE).
This decision was based on the evidence presented to the TAG-VE that Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, for example, on how easily it spreads or the severity of illness it causes. Here is a summary of what is currently known.
Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting studies to better understand many aspects of Omicron and will continue to share the findings of these studies as they become available.
In the meanwhile, Filipinos who have stayed away from the vaccination rollout areas for whatever reason should take advantage of the extended inoculation program of the government.
That opportunity should not be ignored. No reason to. (ai/mtvn)