MANILA – President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday announced his plan to ramp up the vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) amid the spike in infections.
Marcos, in a media interview, said his administration would step up its efforts to encourage Filipinos, especially the youth, to receive booster shots against Covid-19.
This, as he acknowledged that people with Covid-19 booster shots have stronger immunity against Omicron subvariants.
"With Omicron, you apparently need a third dose, which is a booster dose. So we will be encouraging that especially for younger people because again, we have to be concerned about their return to school. That's the general policy. We will reinstitute again the vaccination drive so that we can at least feel safer when the children go back to school," Marcos said.
He issued the statement, as he bared the plan to conduct "full" face-to-face classes by November this year.
As of July 3, around 70,780,972 or 78.64 percent of the country's target population (90,005,357) are already fully-vaccinated against Covid-19.
A total of 15,147,905 individuals have received booster shots.
Despite the presence of Omicron subvariants in the country, Marcos expressed confidence that his administration could defeat Covid-19.
"If we look at where we started, we still have the capability to handle the new Covid cases. Luckily, we should not look at the number of Covid cases in the same way as we look at them in 2020 and 2021 because this is Omicron. Omicron is very different. It is a little contagious but it does not hit as hard," he said.
Marcos believed that it is easier now to fight Covid-19, especially the subvariants of Omicron.
"So, we are getting to that point where we're learning to live with the coronavirus, especially with the Omicron variant and the other variants that are coming," he said.
The Department of Health (DOH), in its National Covid-19 Case Bulletin released in Monday, reported 7,398 new coronavirus infections from June 27 to July 3.
The latest average daily case count also went up by 60 percent, from 662 cases per day from June 20 to 26 to 1,057 cases daily in the recent week.
There were 74 verified deaths and 19 cases of severe and critical infections from June 27 to July 3, according to the DOH’s case bulletin.
Despite the apparent spike in Covid-19 infections, Metro Manila and more than half of the provinces, highly urbanized cities and independent component cities stay under the most relaxed Alert Level 1 until July 15. (PNA)