THE Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines announced on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, that the country is expecting the arrival of the first batch of the bivalent Covid-19 vaccines within the next three to four weeks.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire announced during a press briefing that Covax had committed to delivering 1,002,000 bivalent vaccines to the country within the specified time frame.

The bivalent vaccines, which reportedly target the highly transmissible omicron variant of Covid-19 that caused a resurgence of cases in the country early 2022, will be first administered to healthcare workers and senior citizens who received their most recent vaccination for the virus four months ago.

As of February 27, a total of 73.8 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with more than 21.5 million having received their first booster doses and 3.9 million having received their second booster doses.

Currently, the country has a total of 9,292 active Covid-19 cases and a total caseload of 4,076,237. The death toll due to the virus is at 66,108.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is considering using the alert level system as a risk communication tool instead of using it as a prescribing tool for the implementation of Covid-19 restrictions.

The decision came after the DOH conducted a survey among local government unit officials on the important key points in the implementation of the alert level system, Vergeire said.

“So bottom line would be napagusapan na, naandiyan na tayo sa direction kung saan we would like that the alert level system would not be a prescribing tool for restrictions anymore, but would just be a risk communication tool for our local governments, and our people, [or] our public,” said Vergeire.

(So, the bottom line is that we have already discussed and are now moving in the direction where the alert level system will no longer be a tool for prescribing restrictions but rather a risk communication tool for our local governments, people and the public.)

“So that we are all guided on what should be done kung saka sakali ano ang risk level ng bawat area sa ating bansa,” she added.

(This is so that we can all be guided on what should be done in case of different risk levels in each area of our country.)

Vergeire said recommendations following the discussion would be released soon once approved by all the members. (SunStar Philippines)