Davao CHO: Covid-19 cases increasing, no more Covid-19 vaccines available

Davao City Health Office notes steady increase in Covid-19 cases from April-June; No more Covid-19 vaccines available due to halt in procurement following Proclamation 297
Davao CHO: Covid-19 cases increasing,
no more Covid-19 vaccines available
Mark Perandos/SunStar File Photo

THE Davao City Health Office (CHO) reported approximately 100 Covid-19 cases in the city as of June 2024, an increase from 74 cases in May.

During the ISpeak media forum on June 13, 2024, at the City Mayor's Office, Dr. Tomas Ababon, head of CHO, shared that there were 19 cases in April, 74 in May, and 111 in June. 

He noted that while they cannot confirm if these are FLiRT variants without genome sequencing, no data indicates the presence of a FLiRT variant among the city's Covid-19 cases.

“Ang ginabuhat nato aning FLiRT, aning Covid padayon gihapon atoang surveillance ani ang nawala lang gyud nato katong isolation, katong swabbing (What we are doing for the FLiRT and Covid is continuing surveillance; what we don’t employ right now are isolation and swabbing),” he said.

Unlike at the pandemic's peak, when contact tracing, isolation, and vaccination were essential, these measures ceased following Presidential Proclamation No. 297 on July 21, 2023, which lifted the State of Public Health Emergency due to Covid-19.

“All prior orders, memoranda, and issuances that are effective only during the State of Public Health Emergency shall be deemed withdrawn, revoked, or canceled and shall no longer be in effect,” the proclamation reads. 

Ababon said, "kaning FLiRT Covid although bag-o siya nga variant dili siya ing-ana ka severe makahatag og sakit, mura gihapon siyag usual nato nga flu although bag-o siya nga strain (This FLiRT Covid variant, although new, does not cause severe disease; it is similar to our usual flu).” 

The CHO highlighted that the most vulnerable populations are the elderly, children, and those with comorbidities. He noted that the working population, particularly those 60 years old and below, tend to be less affected.

Data presented by CHO showed that June 2024's 111 cases are lower than the 217 cases in June 2023. 

As of June 2024, the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) has around 135 active Covid-19 cases, with 50 asymptomatic, 69 mild, 15 moderate, and one critical.

No Covid-19 vaccines

Ababon said that there are no longer Covid-19 vaccines available. Despite many inquiries, the halt in procurement following Proclamation 297 has left the country without vaccines.

“Wala na tay Covid-19 vaccine kay tungod nagproklama ang presidente tung last year na tanan aktibidades bahin sa Covid-19 undangon (We no longer have a Covid vaccine because the president announced last year that all activities related to Covid-19 will be stopped),” he said. “The bivalent vaccine was the last batch, and after the proclamation, it ran out within a month. Since then, there have been no Covid-19 vaccines available anywhere in the Philippines.” 

He clarified that vaccination did not stop immediately but continued until the existing vaccines were used. No new vaccines have been procured since.

Even if the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Davao wanted to purchase vaccines, it would be impossible due to the absence of available sales.

MPHS remains 

Despite the new Covid-19 variant, the Minimum Public Health Standards (MPHS) are still in place, though they are now only encouraged rather than enforced. 

Some areas, like hospitals and health facilities, may still require adherence to these standards.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), wearing a mask is not mandatory, but individuals who are sick should stay home, wear a properly fitted face mask, and avoid social gatherings.

“Katung mga minimum public health standard natu nagpabilin tu siya wala gyud siya nawala and that is very basic man pod when we are dealing with respiratory inspection (The minimum public health standards remain in place; they have not disappeared, and they are fundamental when dealing with respiratory infections),” he said. RGP

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