The Philippines is the worse place to be in during the COVID-19 pandemic for the third straight month, Bloomberg said in its monthly Resilience Ranking, noting the country's vaccination rate as a "key barrier" to improving its score just as a new COVID variant looms.
The country placed last in the ranking of 53 economies valued at more than $200 billion pre-pandemic using indicators such as vaccination coverage, virus containment, severity of lockdowns, quality of healthcare, progress toward restarting travel, and the overall mortality throughout the pandemic.
"The lowest two places on the Ranking have given out less than 100 COVID shots per 100 people, a key barrier to improving their scores," Bloomberg said.
The Philippines has been in last place since September alongside Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. At the top of the list are the United Arab Emirates, Chile, Finland, Ireland, and Spain.
For Philippines and Indonesia, which were noted to have given out 73.2 doses and 87.3 per 100 people respectively, the struggle to vaccinate the population was largely due to hesitancy of its people, as well as supply woes, Bloomberg said.
"The perverse consequences of global vaccine inequality has only been underscored by omicron’s emergence, something that scientists and the World Health Organization warned would happen—and will keep happening—until the developing world is able to more efficiently access and administer shots," it added.
Omicron could reverse efforts to reopen economies as it is feared to be more transmissible than the Delta variant, Bloomberg said.
“Will Omicron turn the clock back on the pandemic, or does the advent of COVID pills and booster shots light a permanent exit path?," it said.
The Philippines suspended its decision to allow entry of fully vaccinated tourists as a precaution against Omicron, while launching a three-day national vaccination drive.
So far, the country has not reported any cases of the Omicron strain, which was first detected in South Africa and has since spread around the globe.
The government has eased virus restrictions in recent weeks as the daily infection rate hovers at the lowest level since the beginning of the year and the nationwide vaccination rate increases.
But the emergence of Omicron has raised fears curbs could be reimposed.