Prioritize vaccinating 50 years old and up amid unstable supply, gov't told

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 4) — A medical expert is urging the national and local governments to focus on vaccinating individuals aged 50 years old and above to better deal with the dangers of the more transmissible Delta coronavirus variant.

Dr. John Wong, an epidemiology and data analytics expert working with the government's Inter-Agency Task Force, on Wednesday said shifting the focus on those younger than the elderly — who are second in the vaccination priority list due to their vulnerability to COVID-19 — will greatly help the country's healthcare and intensive care capacity during the surge.

He added it will be a better use of resources especially when vaccine supplies are unstable and while there is a two-week limit on the hard lockdown in Metro Manila.

"More important than how many people you vaccinate a day is who you vaccinate. The best way to decrease hospitalizations and deaths is to select the population at high risk. These are the people more than 50 years old," he said in an online townhall meeting. "This gives us greatest value for our money."

He said vaccinating those aged 50 years old and up will decrease deaths related to COVID-19 by 80%.

"It's not that scary if you are vaccinated," he said.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles admitted there is a low demand for vaccines in the A2 sector that groups seniors, but the government is working to improve the numbers.

The national government is allocating an additional four million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Metro Manila for the enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 6 to 20. Local governments are targeting to administer 250,000 shots daily across the region to maximize the lockdown period.