More benefits have been released for health care workers, the Department of Health said Tuesday, as the House of Representatives Committee on Health, chaired by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, received a briefing from various experts on the country’s latest COVID-19 situation.
DoH Assistant Secretary Maylene Beltran, in her updates on the health care workers (HCWs) benefits, revealed that a total of P16.188 million was released as of last week, while P7.98 million Special Risk allowance (SRA) was disbursed for 496,314 HCWs.
“More than P401 million was disbursed for meals, accommodation, and transportation (MAT) allowance for 106,115 HCWs,” Beltran said.
Tan said the briefing seeks to ensure that the public will be armed with accurate information regarding the peak and projection of cases.
Key officials from the DOH, the National Task Force Against COVID-19, and other stakeholders led the briefing.
Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary and National Vaccination Operations Center Chair Myrna Cabotaje reported that as of January 17, 2022, a total of 118,944,889 doses were already administered covering 100.34 percent of the A1 priority group or the workers in the frontline health services with at least one dose and 91.96 percent of those fully vaccinated.
Lagging behind in the vaccine coverage was the A3 group or pregnant individuals with only 19.49 percent of those with at least one dose and 12.15 percent of those fully vaccinated; while 22.75 percent of the Pediatric A3 or 12 to 17 years old with comorbidities with at least one dose and 15.57 percent of those fully vaccinated were covered.
Overall, the coverage of individuals with at least one dose is at 81.59 percent and 70.54 percent of those fully vaccinated.
The DOH targets 100 percent of the eligible population or 111 million individuals with primary vaccination series and with booster or additional dose in 2022.
On the latest COVID-19 situation, DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director Dr. Thea de Guzman said the increase in cases is present in all regions and all provinces, highly urbanized cities (HUCs) and independent component cities (ICCs).
Peak in the NCR Plus is larger than the peak in September last year in relation to Delta variant but hospitalization and severe and critical diseases were less than observed in August to September 2021.
De Guzman said that while the percentage of severe, critical, and fatalities have been continuously declining since 2020, “deaths have been lower in NCR where there is the highest vaccination coverage total, which underscores that all vaccines continue to protect against severe diseases and death.”
The DOH confirmed that these spikes are driven by Omicron but also facilitated by increased mobility, reduced adherence to minimum public health standards, and delays in detection and isolation.
The entire country is now at critical risk classification as well as the NCR and Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, and CAR.