The World Health Organization (WHO) urged the Philippines to intensify its efforts in vaccinating its elderly population against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as he described the rollout of the vaccination program for senior citizens as “unfortunate” and “unsatisfactory.”
“We have made progress but unfortunately, the progress in the Philippines has been painfully slow,” said WHO Country Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe in a public press briefing on Tuesday, Sept. 14
Abeyasinghe said that “nearly 3.6 million elderly people” in the country still have not received a single shot of COVID-19 vaccine. “This is unfortunate, it’s unsatisfactory,” he said.
He noted that seven out of 10 “deaths in the Philippines are reported in this group of above 60.”
“There are areas in the country where the elderly vaccination coverage is just over 24 percent. This is unsatisfactory. We need to correct this as quickly as possible because we’re seeing a surge affecting many other regions. Many regions in the Philippines—the elderly coverage is still below 40 percent,” said Abeyasinghe.
Abeyasinghe said that by vaccinating the elderly population, this can help in preventing them from developing severe disease and causing a surge in the healthcare facilities.
“We need to do better and we urge local chief executives and local health authorities to prioritize, to create avenues so most elderly people can be vaccinated and their lives protected,” he said.