MANILA, Philippines – With the recent detection of the Philippines’ first Omicron BA.2.12 case, the Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday, April 28, urged the public to get their booster shot against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
“Omicron BA.2.12 reminds us that the virus is still out there and cases can go up the moment we let our guard down. The DOH thus implores the public to get boosted ASAP, as immunity is proven to wane over time,” the agency said.
So far, the World Health Organization has not classified Omicron BA.2.12 as a variant of interest or variant of concern. Initial studies suggested that BA.2.12 may be 20% more transmissible than BA.2, which is the dominant subvariant of Omicron in the Philippines and the rest of the world.
There is not enough evidence yet on whether BA.2.12 can cause more severe symptoms.
On Monday, April 25, the Philippines began administering a fourth dose or second booster shot to immunocompromised individuals aged 18 and above. (READ: Philippines begins rollout of COVID-19 2nd booster shot on April 25)
The Philippines’ first case of Omicron BA.2.12 is a 52-year-old Finnish female who arrived in the country from Finland on April 2. While in the Philippines, she traveled to a university in Quezon City and then to Baguio City to conduct seminars. Nine days after her arrival in the country, she experienced mild symptoms such as a headache and sore throat.
The DOH said it had traced 44 close contacts of the case. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier noted that BA.2.12 is “2.5 times more infective but not more severe” than the original Omicron variant.
This latest development comes as the country continues to record daily infections below 500. Millions of Filipinos will also troop to polling precincts in less than two weeks to vote in the national elections on May 9. – Rappler.com
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