Vaccination helped in slowing down COVID-19 surge in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Oct) – The Davao City COVID-19 Task Force is seeing signs the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) surge here is slowing down after rolling out a massive vaccination drive against the highly infectious virus.

Vaccination at a mall in Davao City. Mindanews file photo

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, Task Force spokesperson, said during COVID-19 Alert broadcast over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday that the vaccination remains a big factor in stemming the spread of the infections in the communities.

“We have to celebrate little achievements like this because we’re seeing a lower positivity rate. The COVID-19 Task Forcing is enforcing strategies at the ground level… to ensure medical and safety protocols are implemented,” she said.

Schlosser said that vaccination plays an important part in the strategy of the local government to put the spread under control, apart from prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and reintegration.

As of September 25, 583,002 Davaoeños have been fully vaccinated, both with the double-dose and the single-dose vaccines, or 48.58 percent of the target 1.2 million to achieve herd immunity.

“Vaccination is a big factor. Data are showing that those infected individuals are actually those unvaccinated… It goes to show that if the people are vaccinated, there’s a bigger chance that you get protected against COVID-19 and any other variants,” Schlosser added.

Mayor Sara Duterte told DCDR 87.5 last Monday that “Comorbidity Week 39,” covering the period between September 26 and October 2, recorded 1,253 cases. Of whom, 809 were unvaccinated and 444 vaccinated, she added.

Schlosser said patients with breakthrough infections are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao showed that as of Tuesday, the Davao Region recorded 349 new cases out of 1,955 individuals tested, or a positivity rate 18%.

Out of the new cases, 176 were reported in Davao City. This brought the total cases in the city to 50,743 as of Wednesday, with 7,000 active, 42,158 recovered, and 1,585 deaths.

Schlosser reminded the public to continue observing the health protocols and avoid mass gatherings.

“This is not intended to encourage the public to become complacent, and not to get vaccinated, not to follow health standards, avoid high risk areas, and conduct social gatherings,” she said.

Allowed under the general community quarantine (GCQ) without restrictions are limited gatherings for the purpose of health, government and humanitarian services, and religious gatherings. This city was placed under GCQ until October 31.

Schlosser said the local government is relying on vaccination to put an end to the pandemic.

She said authorities are hoping to achieve the 1.2 million target to achieve herd immunity by the end of this year.

She said the local government is set to roll out vaccination for kids aged 12 to 17 years old belonging to priority group A3 or those with comorbidities once the pilot testing effective October 15 is completed for this age group in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Once the pilot is completed, Schlosser said the local government expects a similar rollout for children in other areas of the country.

In a statement released on September 29, the DOH said there must be informed consent by the parent/guardian and child prior to vaccination, and enough supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the only ones with emergency use authorization for children aged 12 to 17 issued by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.

“More importantly, [there should be] equitable access to medical clearance by a physician for children with comorbidities,” the DOH added.

Schlosser said that the vaccination rollout for minors will be conducted in the hospitals. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)