Experts encourage vaccine recipients to complete COVID-19 vaccine doses

Published June 2, 2021, 4:58 PM

by Analou de Vera

A health worker prepares to administer a coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination site in Manila on May 14, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/ Manila Bulletin)

Around 50 percent of vaccine recipients in the country have missed taking the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, an expert working with the government’s pandemic task force said.

“We expect that about 2.1 million should have come back by now for their second dose. But so far, only about a million have come back,” said data analyst Dr. John Wong during an online town hall event on Wednesday, June 2.

“So, maybe about half of the people, who have taken their first doses, are missing out on their second doses,” he added.

When asked about the reason behind the missed second dose schedules, Wong replied: “We don’t [have] information on the reasons yet. That’s something that the DOH (Department of Health) and the LGUs (local government units) need to do more about.”

Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that all vaccine recipients should complete the two doses for them to acquire the needed protection against the viral illness.

“That first dose is really not enough. Sinasabi na po ito lahat ng ating mga eksperto that you need to get your second dose because it provides your with the maximum potential nung bakuna (All our experts have already said that you need to get your second dose because it provides you with the maximum potential of the vaccine),” said Vergeire.

“Para naman po doon sa mga taong hindi nakabalik sa tamang schedule, maaari pa rin po kayong bakunahan ng second dose. Hindi po kailangan ulitin na first dose po ang ibibigay sa inyo. Bumalik lamang po kayo sa vaccination site and you will be given your second dose (For those who were not able to return on their scheduled appointment, you can still be vaccinated with the second dose. There is no need to repeat the first dose. Just go back to the vaccination site and you will be given your second dose),” she said.

Vaccinate 50 years old and above

Wong also encouraged the government to vaccinate those 50 years old and above to prevent deaths due to COVID-19.

He said that “those 50 years old and above make up only 17 percent of the population” but they “represented 81 percent” of the country’s COVID-19 fatalities.

“Although the working age population are most likely to be infected, the elderly are most likely to die,” he said.

“Just vaccinating 20 percent of the population prevents 80 percent of all deaths,” he added.

The data analyst said that by vaccinating those 50 years old and above, it will cover three priority sectors already: the senior citizens (A2), persons with comorbidities (A3), and essential workers (A4).

“Just this group of 50 years and above already account of almost 60 percent of persons with comorbidities. Meaning if you vaccinate (aged) 50 and above, you are practically vaccinating a little more than half of A3,” he said.

“If we vaccinate (aged) 50 and above, we prevent 80 percent of all deaths and we cover 100 percent of A2, 30 percent of A3, and 15 percent of A4, so we hit three categories just by vaccinating 50 years old and above,” he added.