December 6, 2023

An infectious diseases expert said Tuesday the government would need two to three million doses of bivalent Covid-19 vaccine to protect the vulnerable population.

In a briefing, Dr. Rontgene Solante said the 391,000 doses of bivalent Covid-19 vaccines the Philippines received from the Lithuanian government over the weekend 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, sana madagdagan,” he said.

Solante said 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,  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 percent, it’s still significant,” he said.

Apart from healthcare workers and the senior citizens, Solante said he would also recommend the bivalent jabs to individuals who are immunocompromised and have comorbidities.

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 percent 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 and 28. – PNA