Booster shots for the elderly

Booster shots for the elderly

Talk of booster shots as we roll down Alert Level 1 as from March 1, following a drop in the number of coronavirus 2019 infections.

But we heard an infectious disease expert say the other day that the second booster shot, as suggested, is only recommended for senior citizens and immunocompromised for now, and not yet for the younger or the general population.

Let’s listen to Dr. Rontgene Solante who said in a radio interview the advice of health experts remained for those who have completed their primary vaccine series to get one booster shot after three to six months.

Health Undersecretary and National Vaccination Operations Center chairperson Dr. Myrna Cabotaje has also said that vaccinations at local government units nationwide slowed down the past week, with some people losing the sense of urgency when it comes to booster shots.

This is why the priority for the fourth wave of the “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” national vaccination drive will be senior citizens who have not yet completed their primary dose series and those set for booster

shots.

Based on the Department of Health’s national COVID-19 vaccination dashboard, 10.2 million Filipinos have received booster shots as of February 28.

Meanwhile, the country’s daily COVID-19 figures might decrease to 500 by end of March or early next month despite the slowing down of infections’ downward trend.

Independent monitoring OCTA Research Group’s Guido David said some areas such as Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and Iloilo City were still classified as “moderate risk” for respiratory disease due to “moderate” healthcare utilization rate.

“We’re expecting this to continue to decline by end of March. It might be only a few hundred, 300 to 500, just like what we saw December last year before omicron entered the country,” he said in a televised public briefing.

“We still need to follow minimum public health standards so cases continue to decline. That’s one of the reasons why our virus cases the past months and weeks decreased,” David said.

Guido also said the decision of DOH to shift from reporting daily COVID-19 case bulletin to a weekly basis would affect OCTA Research Group’s monitoring of the pandemic situation in the country as they might lose their visibility of trends.

David’s remark was made after the DOH announced last week that they would focus the weekly bulletin on active severe and critical infections and the intensive care unit utilization starting March 7.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the purpose for these changes is to make the public look beyond the number of infections and instead focus on the severity of the patients’ condition and the healthcare utilization in the country.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health logged 6,297 new COVID-19 cases from March 1 to 7, 2022, as the agency shifted to a weekly bulletin.

This is the first weekly COVID-19 case bulletin issued by the Department since it announced last Tuesday it would “permanently” shift from issuing it daily to a weekly basis, focusing on active severe and critical infections and the intensive care unit utilization.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the purpose for these changes was to make the public look beyond the number of infections and instead focus on the severity of the patients’

condition and the healthcare utilization in the country.

The DOH said the daily average of cases was at 899, lower by 30 percent than the cases reported from February 22 to 28.

The health department also reported 1,055 severe and critical cases and an intensive care unit utilization rate of 25.7percent, or 807 out of the 3,138 ICU beds. Both are cumulative totals based on admissions as of March 6.

The country’s death toll increased to 615. (ai/mtvn)

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