The good news has been that the number of fully vaccinated individuals against COVID-19 in the Philippines has surpassed the four million mark of the 70 million target population for jabs against the coronavirus. The pace is slow but moving, and we hope to see a faster rate of vaccination in the coming days.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told a Palace online briefing of the 10,026,722 who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, a total 4,047,792 had received their second dose as of July 14, 2021.
That’s six days after Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said 12,703,081 doses have been administered nationwide, with an average of 200,000 shots per day.
A total 9,493,839 individuals have received at least one dose.
Since February, the National Task Force against COVID-19 said 20.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered, of which 10.6 million were procured by the government, 900,000 were purchased by the private sector and local government units, 2.1 million doses were donated by other countries, and seven million came from the COVAX facility.
But there is a disturbing development amid this news.
Recently, the Department of Health, the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health reported the detection of four additional Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases, 14 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases, 21 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases, and one Theta (P.3) variant case based on the latest whole-genome sequencing report.
Three of the four additional Delta variant cases are returning Overseas Filipinos from the MV Eastern Hope, a ship currently docked in South Korea.
Of the additional 14 Alpha variant cases detected, 12 are local cases while two are being verified as to whether these are local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, two cases have died and 12 cases have been tagged as recovered. The Alpha variant cases now total 1,085.
Of the additional 21 Beta variant cases detected, 20 are local cases while one case is being verified as to whether this is a local or ROF case. Based on the case line list, 20 cases have been tagged as recovered and one case is currently active. The total Beta variant cases are now 1,267.
Given these distressing developments, we should not be complacent as the authorities try to battle against the virus, particularly amid official reports that Central Visayas is now on a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the curve shows an upward trend.
Let’s not congratulate ourselves as yet—as we try to protect ourselves and the rest in the community by following the basic health protocols.