Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed on Tuesday, Feb. 22, that the succeeding national coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) vaccination drive will focus on senior citizens.
In an interview over GMA News, Año noted that the government will conduct house-to-house inoculation schemes for the elderly after conferring with vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
“The situation in Hong Kong, where hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, including the elderly, triggered this response, Año said.
“Kung mapupuna natin sa Hong Kong ngayon grabe yung (COVID-19) surge doon, maraming namamatay. Napag-alaman natin na ang naging weakest link nila ay yung seniors dahil 30% lang pala ng kanilang seniors ang nabakunahan (If we can notice in Hong Kong the surge there was so dreadful where many died. We discovered that the weakest link is the seniors since only 30 percent of their seniors were inoculated),” he added.
Año explained that 70 percent of the elderly confined in the hospitals succumbed to the virus adding that science based findings showing the extreme severity of the effect of COVID-19 on the seniors and those with comorbidities should not be ignored.
The government has yet to announce the exact day of the next national vaccination drive with plans to fully vaccinate 90 million Filipinos by the end of President Duterte’s term in June 2022.
“By end of President Duterte’s term kasi ang target natin 90 million Filipinos (vaccinated), so meaning to say ang automatic na hahanapin natin doon, ang uunahin natin ang seniors (because our target is to have 90 million Filipinos, so meaning to say it is automatic for us to look for and prioritize the seniors),’’ he emphasized.
The DILG chief estimated that 62 million Filipinos have already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. (Chito A. Chavez)