The government would need two to three million doses of bivalent Covid-19 vaccines to protect the vulnerable population, and the donated bivalent vaccines it has already received are not enough yet to meet the required jabs.
Infectious diseases expert, Dr. Rontgene Solante took this position in a recent televised public briefing. He said the 391,000 doses of bivalent Covid-19 vaccines the country received over the weekend from the Lithuanian government, would not be enough to protect the A1 (healthcare workers) and the A2 (senior citizens) populations.
“I think we’re also expecting around one million doses of donation coming from the COVAX Facility, and we hope there will be more,” he said.
Solante noted that the bivalent vaccines are “very important” in terms of providing protection against Covid-19 because their formulation includes the original strain, the BA.2 and the BA.5.
“Remember that the XBB, the Arcturus came from BA.2. If these will be given to the vulnerable population, there will be added protection against severe infection even if the data says between 40 to 50% only, that’s still significant,” he said.
Apart from the healthcare workers and the senior citizens, Solante said he would also recommend the bivalent jabs to individuals who are immuno-compromised and have co-morbidities.
Citing the downward trend in Covid-19 cases and positivity rate, he said the country “has already passed that critical stage of the Arcturus” but the public still needs to be watchful as there are seven other variants being monitored by the World Health Organization.
On Monday, the Department of Health reported a 22% decrease in daily average of new Covid-19 cases from May 29 to June 4. The agency logged 1,301 daily infections for the same week, a 366-case decrease from the 1,667 recorded between May 22 to 28.
PHOTO: DONATED VACCINE. The Philippines receives over 390,000 doses of bivalent Covid-19 vaccine from the Lithuanian government on Saturday (June 3, 2023) at the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City. Dr. Rontgene Solante noted that the bivalent vaccines are “very important” in terms of providing protection against Covid-19 because their formulation includes the original strain, the BA.2 and the BA.5. (Photo courtesy of DOH)