ADDED JAB. Nurse Olivia del Mundo injects a second dose of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to a walk-in recipient at Dasmariñas Integrated High School in Cavite on Friday (Feb. 4, 2022). As of January 26, a total of 58,149,158 Filipinos are fully vaccinated. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Feb 4 (Mabuhay) — A more intensified Covid-19 vaccination program is crucial to the country’s smooth transition from pandemic to an endemic approach to Covid-19, vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., said Thursday.

“We cannot have [safe] transition from pandemic to endemic kung hindi tayo mababakunahan lahat (if not everyone is vaccinated),” Galvez, also the chief of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19, said during the rollout of “Resbakuna sa Botika” in Bacolod City.

Galvez cited a recent analysis of some health experts worldwide that unvaccinated persons are prone to carrying virus mutations.

Based on the advice of the Israeli experts, Galvez said those who have availed of the booster doses have gained added protection against the dreaded disease, even with the presence of new Covid-19 variants.

“Based on science, as experts said, we need the third dose or boosters so that we can have an added protection, and that any mutation or any variants that are coming in, ay talaga pong ligtas tayo (we are really safe),” he said.

Presidential adviser for Covid-19 response Vince Dizon, earlier said the NTF is already crafting the pandemic exit plan.

Dizon, also the NTF deputy chief, said the country will likely begin with the transition this month.

“I think we will begin with the transition this February. We just need to bring down the cases to the levels that we had in late last year, below 1,000 cases per day, then we can begin the process of transitioning from a pandemic framework to a more endemic framework,” Dizon said in an interview over the Kapihan sa Manila Bay virtual forum on Wednesday.

The latest data from the National Covid-19 vaccination dashboard showed the Philippines has administered 127,570,820 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, with 59,342,837 Filipinos are now fully vaccinated, including those who received single-dose Janssen vaccine, and 7,704,701 eligible individuals have received added protection or booster shots. (MNS)

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