FIRING LINE: Vaccination key vs Delta

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

If I had closed my eyes since Sunday when the country tallied 119 Delta (India) variant cases from just 47 patients two days prior, I’d be scared to open my eyes to see today’s figures.

Health experts and government officials have given a rangy idea of how highly transmissible this Delta variant is – from five times more contagious to eight times more transmissible. So if today’s jump in Delta cases is as scary as I’d imagine, we should all see the picture more clearly.

Add to that concern, the mushrooming of the Alpha (UK) variant to 1,775 and the Beta (South Africa) variant to 2,019 nationwide, we should be concerned that the spread of COVID-19 could spin out of control once again.

The government must first realize this by first abandoning its lofty press releases of a back-to-normal Merry Christmas. Let’s work at herd immunity first, shall we?

I agree that the government should implement bolder moves to arrest the transmission of the Delta variant. However, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion’s suggestion to restrict the entry of unvaccinated individuals in various establishments, even restaurants, and forbid them from traveling is oppressive and violates their human rights.

Can we not be bolder in contact tracing first? Unfortunately, even our chief tracer, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, remains unsatisfied with our methods.

Can’t we be more accurate and thorough in learning as much as we can about the Delta carriers? I just came across a complaint of infectious disease expert Dr. Benjie Co that “the habit of reporting UNKNOWNS by the DOH is back” and it is “highly unacceptable.”

 And can we please be more efficient in the vaccine supply rollout?

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I found the Robinsons Manila vaccination center operation efficient. But the handling of the long queue outside the mall remains to be desired. It needs to improve the system of processing people in the line — whether or not they are eligible to get the jab on that day based on the announced categories eligible to receive the vaccine.

I understand it is not the intention of health and city hall of Manila authorities to allow healthier, younger, and stealthier A3 individuals to jump the line ahead of senior citizens (A2) or weaker A3 vaccine recipients.

So, I suggest the same authorities devise a way to stop it from happening once all the mall entrances open because a 70-year-old or paraplegic who’d been in line since 8 a.m. would never outrace a diabetic in his 20s who came through another gate at 10 a.m. up to the main vaccination area on the second floor.

 Still, let me say that the process of immunization right at the main vaccination area is worthy of praise for its efficiency.

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