Los Baños hits Herd Immunity vs. COVID-19 — MHO

by John Warren Tamor

A total of 97,817 individuals have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus in Los Baños as of April 26, 2022, surpassing the 60-70% mark of the World Health Organization (WHO) for herd immunity.

Data showed that 76.86% of the Municipality’s total population of 127,266 individuals have taken the second dose of COVID-19 and at least 47,285 individuals have also received their first vaccine booster shot, according to the Municipality Vaccine Operations Reporting System. 

This implies that eight out of ten Los Bañenses are already fully vaccinated and four out of ten have already taken their first booster shot.

Dr. Alvin Isidoro, Municipal Health Officer (MHO) of Los Baños, confirmed this by saying that, “More or less na-achieve na natin yung herd immunity… and scientifically, yan yung hinahabol natin para at least ma-prevent natin ang community transmission ng COVID infections.

(“More or less, we have already achieved herd immunity… and scientifically, that is what we are aiming for to, at least, prevent community transmission of COVID infections.”)

Reaching the herd immunity threshold

According to WHO, herd immunity is the indirect protection from an infectious disease once a significant number of the population has been immune from it. In terms of COVID-19 transmissions, the WHO encourages the public to achieve herd immunity through vaccination. 

Pag sinabi mo kasing herd immunity, although merong ibang natitira na hindi nababakunahan…majority of the population is vaccinated or protected. [Sa ganitong sitwasyon] the chances of infecting yung mga kahit hindi vaccinated ay mababa compared kapag hindi na-achieve yung herd immunity,” Dr. Isidoro added. 

(“When we say herd immunity, there may still be unvaccinated individuals but the majority of the population is already vaccinated or protected. In this scenario, the chances of infecting those who aren’t vaccinated decreases compared to when herd immunity hasn’t been achieved yet.”)

Although there have been a total of 6,270 COVID-19 cases recorded in the municipality, Los Baños has maintained only one to zero active cases since March 28, 2022. To maintain this low level of transmission, the MHO hopes to catch up on its vaccination backlogs which include the rollout of vaccination among children aged 12 to 17 years old. 

Second vaccine booster shots underway

According to Dr. Isidoro, “Nag-start na yung second booster last week [April 25],” in congruence with the rollout of fourth COVID-19 vaccine shots across the country.

(“The second booster rollout in LB already started last week.”)

However, as of the moment, these COVID-19 booster doses are only offered to the immuno-compromised (A3 Priority Group) after three months of their first booster. Isidoro said that the Department of Health’s COVID-19 priority list will still serve as the basis for the rollout of the second booster shots in the municipality. 

Recently, Philippine Medical Association President, Dr. Benito Atienza, stated in a televised briefing that taking a different second booster shot brand than the first booster is proven to be more effective. He also assured that the second round of booster shots will remain safe and effective for the use of the general public

Averting another surge during the elections 

The MHO expects a lot of movement from the public on May 9 during the election, especially in polling precincts. With this, Dr. Isidoro advises every Los Bañense to comply with the following health protocols during the election day: 

  • Wear a mask and bring your own rubbing alcohol when going out to vote..
  • Consider staying at home if you are feeling sick.
  • As much as possible, leave minors at home.
  • Practice social distancing and avoid crowds.
  • After casting your vote, do not stay at the polling precinct.

Isidoro reminded the public to stay vigilant despite the current COVID-19 trend. “While bumaba na nga yung cases, nag-zero na nga tayo, pero nandoon pa rin yung threat ng pagbabalik ng other variants ng COVID, so mag-ingat pa rin,” he added.

(“While the cases lowered, even hitting zero, the threat of a surge from other COVID variants is still there so we must still be wary.”)

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