Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) recently hosted their latest COVID-19 webicon entitled “Race Against Time: The Road to Herd Immunity”, with the purpose of educating the public regarding the importance of getting vaccinated against the disease and achieving herd immunity.
In the webicon held on June 4 via ZOOM, the OCTA Research Group composed of Dr. Guido David, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., Dr. Michael Tee and Prof. Ranjit Singh Rye returned to discuss the current state of COVID-19 in the Philippines, the science behind vaccines, and why the country needs to achieve herd immunity to beat the virus.
Fr. Austriaco specifically wanted to introduce the concept of population immunity to the Philippines. He noted that while the public commonly views the COVID-19 disease as a “disease of the individual”, the disease also affects the community by causing surges in the number of infections and disrupting the economy.
Stressing the role of vaccines, Fr. Austriaco pointed out that as the number of vaccinated people goes up, cases of viral transmission will go down, and that is the key to a gradual transition back to normalcy.
Meanwhile, in his integration of OCTA group’s important points, Prof. Rye noted that “while it might be a pipe dream to have the whole population vaccinated by December, there is still a possibility of containment or even herd immunity in certain areas of the country.”
In response to the research group’s presentation, Dr. Dennis Garcia, a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist from CSMC, shared an action plan that may be used in encouraging Filipinos to avail of vaccinations in the community.
“The number of confirmed COVID cases in the Philippines is 1.2 million people, [and the number of] deaths is 21,000. But the number of vaccination doses given is [currently] at 5 million. [The fact that] the number of deaths from the vaccine [in the country] is zero [is] a strong argument in dashing fears of [getting] the vaccine,” he said.
The webicon was rounded off with a Q&A segment for the OCTA Research Group and Dr. Garcia, which CSMC Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Zenaida Javier-Uy took part in as well.
When asked how private institutions like CSMC can help in speeding up the process of achieving herd immunity, Dr. Uy stated that CSMC aims for a 100% vaccination rate for all their medical staff and employees. Dr. Uy likewise shared that the hospital has partnered with the local government unit of San Juan City in vaccinating the populace.
“A strong relationship with local government units and private organizations will allow CSMC (and the rest of the private sector ) to participate in vaccinating a great majority of the Filipino people,” she said in closing. “I’m very proud of the work we do here at Cardinal Santos.”