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9 Jan 2022 - Philippines Updates on Covid-19 Vaccination. Sudden Deaths. China letting Covid-19 Rip. Concerning Drops in 2022 Registered Live Births.
DOH announces it can still vaccinate Filipinos, use its stock (if the expired / expiring batches are applied and granted shelf-life extensions), and that it will accept donations of Bivalent products to meet the requirements of Filipinos even though the State of Calamity has expired. OIC Vergeire makes no mention of the lapsed indemnity which lapsed along with the State of Calamity.
I have still not seen any local media reporting of adverse reactions and deaths related to Covid-19 vaccines. Sudden deaths of local celebrities and politicians are simply announced, but uncommented or blamed on pre-existing conditions, as was the case with this Lady Mayor (I have no evidence of her vaccine status, nor can I claim any link), whose sad and untimely passing is blamed on a stroke.
This young mayor had no disclosed cause for his sudden death.
I will further discuss the pending (and concerning) CDC Philippines Bill (HB6522) later this week.
China and Covid-19, Letting It Rip
China has opened its borders and released all stops on their ongoing covid-19 outbreak on 8th January 2023. The apparent intent is to allow the infection to spread rapidly through the population to generate herd immunity, and then get on with life.
With the Chinese New Year happening on 22nd January 2023, and the mass migration (both within and from international returning Chinese to China) that comes with that, I suspect that everyone will be exposed to Covid-19, deal it with whatever natural outcomes result, and Covid-19 in China will be mostly over within February.
Philippines Government is not planning to have any special conditions for Chinese Travellers at this point, preferring to focus on opening the economy and increasing tourism.
Don't be terrified of all the predictions of mass deaths in China. They are based on models, and we all know how well that went last time!
Further, China has around 1.4 billion people. Their normal annual deaths are around 10 million, giving an average daily death rate from all causes somewhere in the range of 27,400 people. Current variants of Covid-19 are mild and generally only a risk for people with very severe comorbidities, who are risk from any infection.
Further Review of Philippines Preliminary Registered Births Data from 2022
Oplas, Business World Article presented ten economic issues to be watching in the Philippines. The article is great to read in full. One of the key issues raised though is my interest area, which is the change in population (births and deaths), extracted below.
This inspired me to look further the birth registration data I have on hand, also in light of the recent reported 2022 reduction in fertility to 1.9 (from 2.7 in 2017). A new Philippines Statistics Authority Release is due out any day to update the December 8 release that covered January to August (data only apparently “relatively complete” for Jan to June). I will update further once this is on hand.
I had plotted PSA released 5-year fertility data for Philippines, overall and by region. Note that the last normal registered births year (before birth rates started plummeting) was 2019.
Please also note that there is a normal monthly pattern to births. Patterns of ups and downs, with births generally rising towards the end of the year and into January. Observing the available 2022 data to date (preliminary, but early months of the year should be substantially complete), higher than 2021 births are seen in January and February, close to 2021 levels in March, and thereafter birth rates flatten, not showing the typical annual rise in April and onwards.
The drop in registered live births in 2020 and 2021 cannot yet be related to the covid-19 vaccination program which only started in March 2021 and was rolled out to the general population by 3rd quarter 2021. The drop in birth rates in 2020 and 2021 are likely related to the aggressive family planning measures made available since 2017.
Average live births dropped from 4,584 a day in 2019 to 4,177 in 2020, and then 3,272 in 2021 (still preliminary data). The daily loss of registered live births in 2020 compared to 2019 is equivalent to 8.2*50-student classrooms, and in 2021 was equivalent to 17.2*50-student classrooms.
Pregnancy takes 40 weeks, and thus impacts on fertility resulting from covid-19 vaccination are only expected to be seen by 2nd to 3rd quarter 2022, which is indeed shown in the provided figure which present data extracted from PSA. The further drop in birth rates in 2022 with average daily births up to June standing at 3,281 is equivalent to a daily loss of 26.1*50-student classrooms, a drop of 28% since 2019.
This likely due to the continuing impacts of family planning measures compounded by the fertility impacts of the Covid-19 vaccines.
Overall and broken down by region. The drops / flattening are seen across all regions, with different months as notable start date of the 2022 drops in different regions. Dotted lines shows drop off with incomplete registration data.
Note the drop / flattening of registered birth in Region II, which includes Cebu where start of vaccine rollout was delayed compared to other regions became notable in May, instead of April as seen in most other regions.
Worth watching and raising an alarm, for sure!