(MNS Photo)

MANILA, July 14 (Mabuhay) –An infectious disease expert on Thursday said the “worst is really over” for the deaths and severe cases brought about by COVID-19 because of the Filipinos’ vaccination rate. 

At a Laging Handa briefing, Dr. Edsel Salvana said that even if the number of COVID-19 cases tripled at the start of the year due to the Omicron variant, the deaths were “nowhere near” than those recorded during the peak of the Delta variant transmission.

The Philippines detected its first two cases of the Delta variant from two overseas Filipinos in May 2021—just two months after the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines started in the country.

“Doon pa lang, masasabi na natin na [due to this, we can say that] because of vaccines, the worst is really over for the pandemic. Pero of course, there is nothing that will stop the virus from continuing to mutate lalong-lalo na kung patuloy ‘yung transmission [especially if the transmission continues],” he said.

“Even if these are mild, even if these are asymptomatic, the virus can continue to evolve kaya kinakailangan patuloy ang ating pag-iingat [thus we need to be vigilant]. But in terms of deaths and severe disease, I think that the worst is over because of vaccination,” he added.

Salvana, however, stressed that the COVID-19 transmission will continue if  many Filipinos remain unvaccinated or have not yet gotten their booster shot.

“The problem is the more infections occur, the more likely magkakaroon ng mutated virus, lalo na ‘yung nakaka-escape ng ating mga vaccines [the virus will more likely to mutate especially those that can escape our current vaccines],” he pointed out.

Based on the Department of Health’s national COVID-19 vaccination dashboard, there are now 71 million Filipinos fully vaccinated. Of this number, 15.1 million have received their booster shots.

The Philippines on Wednesday logged 1,604 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the active tally to 14,862. (MNS)

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