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4月19日のまにら新聞から

Gov't should focus on raising vaccination rates: WHO representative

[ 422 words|2022.4.19|英字 (English) ]

The government should focus on increasing vaccination rates rather than monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases, the Philippine representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

During the ''Laging Handa'' virtual public briefing, WHO Representative Rajendra Yadav said the possible increase in the number of COVID-19 cases during the observance of the Lenten season will depend on how the public followed minimum health protocols.

"As we expected, people going in and out of Metro Manila to meet their family members and also tourist destinations so whether this social mixing, increased mobility during Easter will increase the number of cases, that will depend on whether people wear mask and avoid crowds and fully ventilated places and also whether we are testing enough people," he said.

As of March 30, the Department of Health (DOH) website said people who got the first dose reached 64.3 million, the second dose 65.9 million and boosters, 12 million.

Yadav said the government should not rely on recorded number of COVID -19 cases because of inadequate number of testing done in the country.

"Now the government is prioritizing testing among high risk groups. We are not testing as much as we were testing in the previous months so we should not rely on the number of cases to know whether we have too much COVID or not. Rather, we should focus on increasing our vaccination," he said.

"In short, whether the number will go up or not, only time will tell. Also we should not focus too much on the number of cases rather the number of people who are vaccinated. That is more important," he added.

Yadav also noted the importance of the participation of local governments to boost inoculation.

"Unfortunately, many many barangays are still nowhere close to 70 percent. Actually, we need to go even much beyond 70 percent to create adequate herd immunity. So the local chief executives of the places... need to step up reaching the unreached thru the last mile approach which basically means using house-to-house vaccination or close to house vaccination," he said.

"If vaccinators sit at vaccination sites, that is not adequate. We have to reach out to the people with more challenges of access, especially people who are elderly. They may not able to travel maybe 20 minutes or may feel discouraged if they have to travel. So rather than waiting to the vaccination site, we will have to reach out to them and get vaccinated. That is the best thing we can do," he added. Robina Asido/DMS