Nine out of 10 people in the National Capital Region (NCR) have already been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) but the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) only fully protected close to two out of its 10 residents.
This was revealed by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. during the “Talk to the People” public address of President Duterte late Monday night, Nov. 15, which aired on Tuesday morning, Nov. 16.
Galvez said the NCR has administered complete vaccine doses to a total of 9,005,703 individuals out of the target 9,776,356 eligible population in the region. This translates to a 92.12 percent vaccination rate in the capital region.
Meanwhile, 9,963,864 individuals have also received their first dose for a vaccination rate of 101.92 percent.
“Ang report po ng ating Metro Manila Council at ng ating MMDA [Metropolitan Manila Development Authority], mayroon na po silang 101.92 percent dahil kasama na po ngayon ang vaccination ng ating mga children, at sila po ay 92.12 percent na po ang fully vaccinated (The report of the Metro Manila Council and MMDA is that they have a 101.92 percent [rate for first dose] because they included the vaccination of our children, and they also have a 92.12-percent fully vaccinated [population]),” Galvez said, citing data from the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).
The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) closely follows as it has fully vaccinated 572,047 individuals out of its 1,275,903 target eligible population (44.83 percent). CAR also administered first dose to 723,435 people for a vaccination rate of 56.70 percent.
Meanwhile, other regions have also posted improving rates for its full-dose vaccination including Davao Region (Region 11) with 41.92 percent; Calabarzon (Region 4A) with 41.21 percent; and Central Luzon (Region 3) with 40.85 percent.
Six regions have fully vaccinated 30 percent of their target eligible population namely Northern Mindanao (Region 10) with 35.54 percent; Ilocos Region (Region 1) with 35.37 percent; Western Visayas (Region 6) with 33.53 percent; Central Visayas (Region 7) with 32.46 percent; Caraga (Region 13) with 31.62 percent; and Cagayan Valley (Region 2) with 31.02 percent.
Further, five regions have fully vaccinated only 20 percent of their target eligible population including Eastern Visayas (Region 8) with 28.64 percent; Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) with 25.93 percent; Mimaropa (Region 4B) with 25.31 percent; Bicol Region (Region 5) with 24.08 percent; and Soccsksargen (Region 12) with 23.79 percent.
But the glaring disparity in the government’s vaccine allocation was mostly evident in BARMM which only administered full vaccine doses to 324,246 individuals (10.85 percent) out of the total eligible population of 2,989,125.
Part of the reason why BARMM has the lowest vaccination rate among the 17 regions was the geographical challenges in transporting the COVID-19 vaccines to the local government units (LGUs).
BARMM also has a limited cold-chain storage capability to store sensitive vaccines such as Western-made Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca while some LGUs refuse to accept the China-made Sinovac and Sinopharm since they have lower efficacy rates compared to other brands, Galvez had said in past interviews.
To address the vaccine imbalance, the government is banking on the success of the planned National Vaccination Day from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 where it aims to vaccinate five million Filipinos per day or a total of 15 million people in three days.
Galvez said the NTF will tap the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (CPG), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Department of Transportation (DOTr), and even the private organizations such as rider’s associations to fast-track the delivery of vaccines to far-flung and geographically isolated areas such as BARMM.
“The best Christmas gift that we can give to ourselves, our families, our friends and co-workers, and everyone in our community is to have ourselves vaccinated,” he concluded.