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PH Now Has ‘Substantial Population Immunity’ Against COVID-19 – OCTA Fellow


Metro Manila, in particular, is already “solidly protected against a future wave of COVID-19,” says OCTA researcher Fr. Nicanor Austriaco. (File photo by JILSON SECKLER TIU / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines – Current data suggests the Philippines has achieved “substantial population immunity” against COVID-19, OCTA researcher Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr. told the weekly “Talk to the people “by President Rodrigo Duterte which aired Monday evening.

Austriaco, a Catholic priest who is also a molecular biologist, noted that the country currently had its lowest case count and highest hospitalization rate and mobility rate in 20 months, even after the arrival of the Delta variant.

“So what these three mean together is that it suggests that we have achieved substantial population immunity against natural infections and vaccinations in urban areas of the Philippines,” Austriaco said.

“Because the pandemic has raged and spread primarily through our prime cities and towns. The fact that the virus is struggling to find new Filipinos to infect suggests that we have achieved substantial immunity from the population, ”he added.

Austriaco compared the current state of the Philippines to its neighbors, especially Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. These three countries, he said, got the Delta variant before the Philippines, and yet they continue to experience flare-ups, unlike the Philippines.

“Now the reason these four different countries experienced four different pandemic curves is probably because, as you can see, the Philippines has experienced substantial waves of previous variants – especially the Alpha, Beta variants, which hit our country in March and April of this year, ”said Austriaco.

“And so by combining vaccinations and natural immunity, what you see here is that many of our cities where the pandemic tends to concentrate are now stable enough to prevent transmission,” he said. he adds.

The biologist also noted that metro Manila was already “strongly protected against a future wave of COVID-19”, with nearly 100% of its adults vaccinated and the number of adolescents vaccinated on the rise.

Over the past seven days, the Philippines has recorded an average of 500 cases per day, with the Department of Health registering just 543 new cases on December 6 and active infections further reduced to just 13,548.

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