House-to-house vaccination pushed as vax centers reach ‘saturation point’

The national government is looking to intensify the conduct of house-to-house vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as vaccination centers have now reached their “saturation point,” vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Monday night, Feb. 21.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. (Courtesy of RTVM livestream)

Galvez revealed that the government has already fully vaccinated 62,505,204 Filipinos or 60 percent of the 90 million individuals that are targeted to be inoculated.

“Kailangan pang matapos po natin ang 90 million sa mga susunod na apat na buwan (We need to finish the 90 million in the next four months),” Galvez said during the pre-recorded “Talk to the People” public address of President Duterte.

“Na-reach na rin po natin ang saturation point o ‘yung tinatawag na inflection point sa ating mga vaccination centers at kailangan na po tayong bumisita sa mga bara-barangay at magbahay-bahay para maiangat muli ang ating daily output (We also reached the saturation point or inflection point in our vaccination centers so we need to visit barangays and households to raise the daily output),” he added.

By reaching the saturation point, this means that lesser people are now going to the vaccination centers since most regions have already inoculated their targeted population.

He said the daily vaccination output “dramatically” decreased from one million to 500,000 which was evident during the third National Vaccination Days recently. Only 3.5 million people out of the target five million were vaccinated in the massive vaccination drive.

Galvez also stressed the need to vaccinate the remaining three million senior citizens (A2 priority sector) and people with comorbidities (A3 priority sector).

To do this, he said the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) designated a focal person per region to monitor the vaccination of at least 70 percent of their eligible population.

Booster woes

The administration of booster shots to the adult population also remained very slow so Galvez urged the public to get their third dose to raise the efficacy of their primary doses.

So far, only 9.7 million people out of the 62 million fully vaccinated adult population have received their booster shots.

“So we need to direct the 12 regions with high coverage to shift their focus in administering the boosters. Kailangan din po natin ang tulong ng mga pharmacies and medical clinics para po ma-expand ang mga booster sa tulong ng ating mga private sector (We also need the help of pharmacies and medical clinics to expand the booster vaccination with the aid of the private sector),” Galvez said.

“Kailangan din po na mag-dedicate po tayo ng mga araw sa pagbabakuna ng boosters. At kailangan din po natin ang tulong ng lahat para hikayatin ang ating mamamayan na magpa-boosters para tuloy-tuloy at may dagdag na proteksiyon sa susunod na future surges (We also need to dedicate a vaccination day for booster shots. We need the help of everyone to encourage the citizens to get their boosters so they can have an added layer of protection in future surges),” he noted.

(Courtesy of RTVM livestream)

Twelve regions which already vaccinated their targeted population should shift their focus to raising their booster vaccination rate, according to Galvez. These are National Capital Region (NCR), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Meanwhile, Regions 4B, 5, 12, Caraga, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) were directed by Galvez to continue raising the primary series vaccination rate for the adult population.

Pediatric vaccination

As for the pediatric inoculation of children aged 12 to 17 years old, Galvez said that the government was “on track” in vaccinating the said sector.

Around 65 percent – or 8,295,474 individuals out of the target 12.7 million – in this category were fully vaccinated so far, the vaccine czar noted.

“Marami pong nagtatanong kung kailangan po tayong magpa-booster sa 12 to 17 years old. Ang sagot po natin ay naghihintay muna po tayo sa advice ng ating mga eksperto at tingnan po muna natin kung marami na pong bansa ang nagbo-booster for 12 to 17 years old (A lot of people were asking whether or not there is a need to administer booster shots to 12 to 17 year old individuals. Our answer is, we need to wait for the advice of our experts and we should wait until many other countries have already given booster shots for 12 to 17 years old),” Galvez explained.

Meanwhile, the launching of the pediatric inoculation of five to 11 years old was deemed “successful” by Galvez.

In the past two weeks since its launching, a total of 437,939 individuals in this category have received their first dose. The government aims to vaccinate 15.56 million people in this age bracket.

“For the zero to four years old, we still --- we are still waiting and seeing the approval from the stringent regulatory countries like the US , UK and EU . So wait and see muna po tayo dahil kasi wala pa po tayong mga datos para po sa pagbabakuna ng zero to four (So we should wait and see because we don’t have data yet for the vaccination of zero to four year olds),” Galvez stated.

Preparations for the vaccination of zero to four year olds, however, will begin in the second quarter of 2022,” he added.