Senator Sonny Angara on Friday, Oct. 21 urged authorities and local governement officials to go the extra mile and accelerate efforts to reach out to the elder population, of which a significant portion of them remains unvaccinated to this day.
Citing World Health Organization (WHO) report, Angara noted that though senior citizens are prioritized under the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program, some 3.4 million of the 8.5 million elderly in the country have yet to receive their dose of the vaccines.
The Senate finance chief said health authorities and local government units (LGUs) across the country should make sure senior citizens especially in far flung areas would be inoculated.
“It has been seven months since we started our vaccination program. Our health authorities, together with the LGUs should actively seek out our senior citizens and make sure that they receive their jabs at the soonest possible time,” said Angara, who sponsored the COVID-19 Vaccination Act of 2021.
While it is understandable that many of the seniors have apprehensions about getting vaccinated against COVID-19, he said getting a jab had been proven to help save lives during this time of a pandemic.
“And considering that seniors are the most vulnerable to severe COVID-19, it is imperative that most, if not all, of them should be given protection,” he added.
Angara pointed out the issue no longer seems to be about the lack of COVID-19 jabs but on finding ways to deliver the jabs to the seniors and to convince those who refuse to be vaccinated.
“From what we are seeing now with the plans to provide a third dose to the health workers and vulnerable sectors and the rollout of the vaccination of minors, supply is no longer an issue,” the senator said.
“Kailangan na lang natin na gawan ng paraan para mabakunahan ang mga senior natin bilang isang urgent na isyu (We need to do something to make sure our senior citizens are vaccinated as this is an urgent issue),” the lawmaker stressed.
Since most of the elderly citizens are not able to get out of their homes, Angara said LGUs, particularly at the barangay level, should find ways to deliver the vaccines to them.
“We have seen a number of LGUs that have successfully done door-to-door vaccinations of senior citizens. They can serve as models for the other LGUs to replicate so that we can get more of our seniors protected against serious ailments related to COVID-19,” he pointed out.