(PNA photo by Rico H. Borja)

MANILA – The number of breakthrough coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections increasing by the end of the year is likely to happen due to waning immunity, a health expert said Thursday.

“’Yung waning immunity matagal na kasi no sinabi na natin ‘yan na kapag bumaba na ‘yung mga antibodies, magkakaroon na uli ng (In waning immunity, we’ve been saying for a long time when antibodies go down) possible breakthrough infections,” Vaccine Expert Panel chairperson Dr. Nina Glorianni said in a televised public briefing.

A breakthrough infection happens when a vaccinated individual becomes infected with a virus because the vaccine has failed to provide complete immunity against the pathogen.

She noted that the booster vaccination coverage for the first 100 days of the new administration is low at 25 percent.

As of Oct. 2, about 19,760,243 individuals have received their booster doses while 73,181,447 have been fully vaccinated.

Apart from waning immunity, Glorianni said possible breakthrough infections could also be attributed to increased mobility and complacency among many who do not observe health protocols.

“Tapos eto nga po magpa-Pasko maraming lumalabas, namimili, mataas po ‘yung mobility ng mga tao (It’s almost Christmas, many are going out to, the mobility of people is high),” she said. “Importanteng importante ituloy lang po natin ang pagsunod, ‘yung mga may edad, 'yung mga maysakit, mag-mask pa rin kayo kahit naging optional na po (It is important that we continue to observe health protocols, the elderly and those with health conditions must wear masks even if it is optional).”

Health experts say the coronavirus is expected to stay as it continues to mutate due to transmission.

The BQ.1.1 subvariant detected in Canada is being monitored worldwide but there is still no data stating if it can cause severe infections, Glorianni said.

For the use of Pfizer Covid-19 jabs among six-month-old babies in Japan, she said the Food and Drug Administration has received an application from Pfizer and health experts are studying relevant data on its effectiveness and safety. (PNA)