CROWD SUPPORT. People fill Earnshaw Street in Sampaloc, Manila during the proclamation rally of mayoralty candidate, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, on March 27, 2022. Experts fear that gatherings during the Holy Week and campaign period may result in another Covid-19 case surge after the May 9 polls. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Vaccine expert panel chairperson, Dr. Nina Gloriani, on Friday backed the World Health Organization warning of possible Covid-19 surge in the country after the May 9 elections.

Gloriani also cautioned the public about conducting mass gatherings, especially during the Holy Week.

Ito po iyong mga pagkakataon na nagtitipon-tipon ang mga tao. May mga ilan diyan na baka may dala-dala ng virus, so hindi natin alam iyon. So, importante po na patuloy natin iyong ating mga pag-adhere sa mga practice ng (This is the time when people get together. We may not know someone is carrying the virus. So it is important that we continue adhering to the practices of) minimum public health precautions,” she said in a virtual interview.

Health authorities also fear lower vaccination turnout amid the campaign and election period.

Thus, other means and strategies to inoculate more are being planned, including house-to-house vaccination, while inoculation in job sites, pharmacies, clinics, and even churches are being implemented.

The latest data showed that of the more than 66.2 million fully vaccinated Filipinos, only 12.2 million have booster doses.

As of April 6, the country has 32,463 active cases out of the total 3.6 million confirmed infections.

Gloriani said the government’s priority is to continue encouraging the unvaccinated individuals to avail themselves of vaccines amid the election frenzy.

“Well, of course, kapag isa lang ang dose, may kaunting proteksiyon. Kapag nakumpleto ninyo iyong pangalawa, mas mataas ang proteksiyon. After three months, at least, at puwede na kayo sa third dose, mas mataas pa iyong proteksiyon po at lalung-lalo na sa variants (Well of course, if you get one dose, you have limited protections. When you complete the full doses, you will have higher protection. After three months, at least, you can now get third dose with much higher protection, especially against variants),” she added.

Gloriani reminded the public anew that the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over and wearing of mask and physical distancing must be maintained. (PNA)