More younger people contract Covid-19, DOH says

MANILA. A policeman reminds people to practice health protocols at Manila's International Airport on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (AP)

THE Department of Health (DOH) is pushing for work-from-home arrangement in more industries and the vaccination of essential workers to stem the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), including the severe form, among the younger people.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, said the 20 to 49 age groups accounted for the bulk of Covid-19 cases in the country.

“We are looking at what our clinicians are saying that more younger people (who) are having severe infections compared to before,” Vergeire said during a press briefing Wednesday.

“It is because these are the productive age groups. These are the people who go to work,” she added.

She said the DOH has recommended that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease look at more industries that can shift to a work-from-home arrangement in order to lessen mobility in Metro Manila.

She also said they were pushing for the inclusion of Priority Group A4, which is composed of essential workers, in the vaccination program against Covid-19 so that they would be eligible to receive the vaccine as soon as additional doses arrive.

At present, only Priority Groups A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) are eligible for vaccination.

Group A4 is composed of frontline workers in essential sectors, uniformed personnel, mayors and judiciary workers, among others.

The National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 also said it will recommend the vaccination of Groups A4 and A5 (indigent population) in May to the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (Nitag).

Based on the DOH’s Covid-19 tracker, there have been 117,119 cases in the 25 to 29 age group, followed by 102,454 in the 30 to 34 bracket, 84,109 cases in the 20 to 24 group, 77,514 in the 35 to 39 group, 66,855 in the 40 to 44 group, and 56,427 in the 45 to 49 group.

These age groups also accounted for most of the recoveries. Most of those who died from the disease were from those 60 years old and older.

The NTF said 826,607 Filipinos have received the first of two doses nationwide as of April 5, translating to a low utilization rate of 32.7 percent out of the 2,525,600 doses that have been delivered to the Philippines.

Around 95 percent of those inoculated are healthcare workers. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)


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