The Department of Health (DOH) said it has already recorded five deaths among patients infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant.
“As per verification, we have five recorded deaths,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a statement on Wednesday, Jan. 26.
Vergeire noted that all of these patients have comorbidities. Also, three of them were senior citizens.
As for their vaccination status, one of them was partially vaccinated, one was unvaccinated, while “the remaining three are still for verification,” said Vergeire.
In a television interview on Wednesday, Vergeire reminded the public that Omicron may still cause severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) even if studies showed that it is milder than the Delta variant.
“Even with Omicron right now, there are still individuals having severe infections and even dying. These are the individuals who are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“Or even some individuals who are vaccinated but they are vulnerable, ibig sabihin matatanda (meaning, the elderly people) or those with comorbidities. So, we cannot put some lighter weight para sa (for) Omicron because it has milder symptoms— because it can still be severe,” she added.
As of Jan. 19, the total number of confirmed Omicron cases in the Philippines stood at 535.
The public, meanwhile, should not panic in relation to the detection of the Omicron subvariant BA.2 or stealth Omicron, said the DOH spokesperson.
All eligible Filipinos should immediately get vaccinated and strictly follow the health protocols to protect themselves against COVID-19, reiterated Vergeire.
“Base sa (Based on) observation all over the world and even here in the Philippines, we are observing that there is not much difference between the regular Omicron as we say it and the stealth omicron,” she said.
“Hindi po natin kailangan mag panic (We don’t need to panic). Just with other variants, kailangan lang (we just need to) we continue to practice our safety protocols and have ourselves vaccinated and we are going to be protected,” she added.