Davao Covid Task Force urges elderly to get booster shots

DAVAO CITY—The Davao City Covid-19 Task Force reiterated its call on Tuesday for senior citizens and persons with comorbidities to have their booster shots, warning that severe symptoms could result in death.

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, Davao City Covid-19 Task Force spokesperson, issued the call following records showing that in the last 36 weeks, 11 of 19 deaths related to Covid-19 involved senior citizens.

The deaths included six elderly persons who received the two-dose primary series but never had any booster shot while the other five were unvaccinated.

“To our senior citizens, please avail of your boosters since your age group has the highest number of deaths. The data is showing us it’s not enough to just be fully vaccinated,” Schlosser said.

In a meeting on Monday, the vaccination cluster reported that the city logged a total of 1,361,872 first dose vaccinations as of September 16, which is 102.60 percent of the target population of 1,327,323 (80 percent of the total population).

The second dose vaccination is at 100.9 percent (1,339,776) of the target population.

Amid the declaration on the voluntary use of face masks outdoors, the Davao City Covid Task Force cautioned Dabawenyos not to be complacent.

In a statement Friday, Schlosser stressed the importance of further educating people about accountability with the recent release of President Ferdinand Marcos’s Executive Order No. 3 regarding the matter. The President’s  September 12 EO 3 allows the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces and non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation.

However, non-fully vaccinated individuals, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals are highly encouraged to wear their masks, and physical distancing must be observed at all times.

EO 3 made it clear that face masks must still be worn in indoor private or public establishments, including public transport by land, air, sea, and in an outdoor setting, where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

“With the voluntary wearing of face masks, we have a responsibility towards ourselves and each other. If the parameters are open and not controlled, please know what is risky or not,” Schlosser said.

She said the city’s safety and security cluster will continue to monitor face mask compliance indoors and in public and private establishments.

Schlosser reminded residents to be “extra careful since they have a higher risk of infecting their children” who are not yet eligible for vaccination, senior parents who belong to the vulnerable sector, or immunocompromised siblings and relatives at home.

She reiterated an earlier appeal to Dabawenyos to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as they can amid the more relaxed Covid-19 protocols.

Meanwhile, of the 1,339,776, who got their first doses, 311,993 or 43.3 percent received their first booster shots.

However, only 9 percent or 64,915 got their second booster jabs.

In the A2 population age group (senior citizens), only 41.9 percent (35,395) out of the 107,775 fully vaccinated have taken their first booster shots, while only 13.87 percent (11,706) received their second booster shots.

Based on studies, Schlosser said Covid-19 vaccines’ effectiveness waned after six months, which is why boosters are needed.

“Seniors and persons with comorbidities who completed their booster shots usually manifest mild symptoms when infected with Covid-19, while some of those in other age groups don’t have symptoms at all. In both cases, there is no need for hospitalization,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Philippines has recorded an average of only three Covid-19 deaths per day in September, lower than the 17 fatalities daily count in August, according to the Department of Health.

In a media briefing, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said current data may still show 200 confirmed deaths per day due to delay in reporting. “We have been transparent on this, we tell you that there are delays in our reporting of deaths because deaths are still being validated on the ground,” she said.

“Our case fatality up until now is still 1.6 percent. It never went over 2 percent, we are able to keep the deaths in our country at that minimum,” she added.

While the country’s Covid-19 deaths remain low, Vergeire said the DOH does not want any fatality due to the infection to happen as the agency tries to prevent deaths and severe and critical cases through vaccination.

Citing data from Google Covid-19 mobility trends, Vergeire said there was an increase in cases due to more people going out as various sectors like face-to-face classes have reopened.

“We really saw after the middle of August, third week of August, the mobility patterns were higher in Metro Manila and even in the other regions,” she said.

She urged those yet to receive their primary series of Covid-19 jabs to get the vaccine and the fully vaccinated to receive their booster doses as higher mobility would mean transmission of infection.

As of September 18, almost 72.9 million have been fully vaccinated. Of the tally, around 6.8 million are senior citizens, 9.9 million are adolescents, and 4.9 million are children.

Almost 18.9 million have received their first booster dose and almost 2.7 million have received their second booster shot. PNA

Image credits: PNA file photo