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Marcos: Philippines studying vaccine targeting Omicron

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said the Philippine government is studying a vaccine that may specifically be against the Omicron variant.

Marcos attended the "PinasLakas" vaccination campaign held in a mall in the City of Manila. Also present were Ilocos 1st District Representative Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire and Manila Mayor Honey Lacuña.

In his message, Marcos said Vergeire had told him that a vaccine, which will combat the Omicron variant, could be released.

"Now, I was just told by Usec. Vergeire, mukha namang mayroon nang ilalabas na vaccine para ito, para dito sa mga bagong variant ng Omicron. Kaya’t pag-aaralan natin and if it is going to be helpful ay gagawin natin ang lahat para madala rito sa Pilipinas para mabigay natin sa lahat ng kailangan magkaroon ng booster shot," Marcos said.

(I was told by Usec. Vergeire, it seems a vaccine against the new subvariants of the Omicron will be released. So we will study this and if it is going to be helpful, we will exert all efforts so that this vaccine will be available in the Philippines.)

Meanwhile, Marcos reiterated his call for the public to avail booster shots as added protection against the coronavirus.

"Kaya’t ito ngayon ang kinakampanya namin na sana eh lalong-lalo na na dahan-dahang pabukas ang ekonomiya. Ayaw natin mag-lockdown. Gusto talaga natin matanggal na ‘yung mask na protocol. Lahat ‘yan hindi natin maiaabot ‘yan kung hindi tayo magpa-booster shot ngayon," Marcos said.

(We are campaigning for booster shots especially that we are reopening our economy. We will no longer impose lockdowns. We want to remove the mandatory wearing of face masks. We will not achieve that if we will not avail booster shots.)

"We have many elements that are going to be important, the back to school, the certain parts of the economy, lahat ‘yan, ay aming talagang tinitingnan para makabalik sa trabaho, para makabalik sa eskwelahan (we are looking on those things as we want people to go back to their jobs and for students to return to schools). At para maging ligtas tayo, para maging safe tayo ay kailangan talaga we have to encourage everyone to have a booster shot para masasabi natin fully immunized," he added.

On August 1, Marcos graced the launch of the “PinasLakas” campaign in Pasig City, which aims to administer booster shots to 50% of the country's eligible population in the next three months.

The PinasLakas campaign aims to give booster shots to 23.8 million Filipinos within the first 100 days of the Marcos administration. It also seeks to vaccinate 90% of the target senior-citizen population group within the same period.

According to the Department of Health, the government needs to vaccinate 397,334 individuals daily for 60 days to achieve the target.

On Tuesday, the DOH recorded 2,633 new COVID-19 cases, increasing the country’s caseload to 3,838,062. So far, the country has 36,190 active COVID-19 infections.

The Philippines was classified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Level 3 destination for a high level of COVID-19 in the country.

The US CDC said Level 3 meant that a destination had more 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population over the past 28 days.

Vergeire, for her part, had said the Philippines uses different metrics in classifying COVID-19 risks. — RSJ, GMA News