(Photo courtesy of NTF Against Covid-19)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said all vaccines and even the booster dose give significant protection against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), including the more transmissible Omicron variant.

The statement came following a report that a small study in South Africa showed that some patients who previously received their booster dose still tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant.

"Alam naman natin maraming developments sa disease at saka sa vaccine, pero it does not mean na wala ng proteksiyon ang ating bakuna even with the booster kasi napapangalagaan pa rin iyong ating kalusugan (We know that there are numerous developments in this disease but that do not mean the vaccine or booster won't protect because it improves your immune system. It's (another) layer of protection to prevent the transmission," Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said in a Laging Handa briefing.

Although breakthrough infections are possible, she reiterated that vaccines still "offer some form of protection," particularly against hospitalization.

The Philippines targets to inoculate at least 54 million people by the end of the year. And for Cabotaje, reaching this population protection is another measure to prevent surges akin to the Delta variant.

Aside from vaccination, she said the Philippines also continues to strengthen its border and quarantine protocols.

"As of now, iyong quarantine protocol ang ating inayos, naging istrikto tayo. So, imbes na three days iyong quarantine, naging five days bago mag-testing (As of now, we are making our quarantine protocol stringent. Instead of three days, it became five days before testing)," she said.

"Tuluy-tuloy pa rin iyong mga dati nating protocol, bakuna habang pinag-aaralan iyong iba-iba pang puwedeng pangkontra sa Omicron variant (We still implement our previous protocols and continue with the vaccination as we study other measures against the Omicron variant)," she added. (PNA)