(File photo)

MANILA – Possible surge of Covid-19 cases in the middle of May could be prevented through the administration of booster shots, a health official said Tuesday.

In a televised Laging Handa public briefing, National Vaccination Operations Center chair Myrna Cabotaje noted the country’s low booster shot rate may be a "contributory factor" in the possible surge next month.

“Alam naman natin na very unpredictable itong ating Covid-19 virus, many things are evolving. Kailangang mag-additional shots iyong ating 18 years old and above para may layer of protection ang buong bansa (We know that the Covid-19 virus is very unpredictable, many things are evolving. Additional shots are needed for 18 years old and above for the country to have [additional] layer of protection),” she said.

Earlier, World Health Organization Acting Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rajendra Yadav said the possible surge of cases next in the middle of May may happen if minimum public health protocols are not observed.

Recent data from the Department of Health (DOH) data showed the compliance rate with health protocols is at -7 percent nationwide and -12 percent in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The 50 percent decrease in the compliance rate may result in almost half a million active infections in the NCR.

In a media forum Tuesday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire clarified the possible surge in May is “a projection and not cast in stone”.

“Ibig sabihin, hindi natin alam kung ito ay mangyayari o kung ito ay hindi mangyayari. Ito ay ginagamit ng pamahalaan para ma-guide tayo sa pagpaplano, at pagprepara at mag-inform at maguide ang ating mga kababayan (We don’t know if this will happen or not. The government uses this as a guide in planning, preparation, and information of our fellowmen),” she said.

Vergeire added that a projection is based on the country’s current risk factors – crowding and mass gatherings due to upcoming national elections and partying during the holidays where wearing of masks was not observed. (PNA)