Immunocompromised teens get booster shots

BOOSTED PROTECTION A teenager gets a Covid-19 booster shot during the initial rollout of booster doses for immunocompromised minors at the National Children’s Hospital in Quezon City on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

THE Philippines has started the administration of Covid-19 vaccine booster to immunocompromised adolescents ages 12 to 17.

Members of the group are eligible to receive their first booster shot 28 days after they got their primary doses.

The government initiated the campaign as 32 additional BA.5 Omicron subvariant cases were reported in the country on Wednesday, the highest number of subvariant detections in a sequencing run.

The Western Visayas region recorded 21 cases of BA.5 while four each were detected in the National Capital Region and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon). Central Luzon recorded three cases.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said nine of the 21 cases from Western Visayas were detected in a workplace cluster and three in a household cluster.

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All but two of the cases were fully vaccinated, one was partially vaccinated while the remaining one was unverified. A total of 22 displayed mild symptoms, five were asymptomatic and five are yet to be verified for manifestation of the disease.

Vergeire said that while there is a sustained increase in the number of infections, the number of severe and critical cases remains stable and will not translate to more hospitalizations.

“We do not want people panicking, but we do want people to be more aware and we would like people to be vigilant so we can be united in enforcing preventive measures to prevent the increase in the number of cases,” she said.

Meanwhile, infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana said it won't be prudent to implement lockdowns over an increase of 200 to 300 cases, adding the practical option is to understand the nature of Covid by living with it.

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