Gov’t plans to extend 4th nat'l Covid-19 vax drive—DOH

Published March 12, 2022, 2:58 PM

by Analou de Vera

Coronavirus vaccines have been prepared for distribution at a vaccination site in Manila on May 18, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

The government is planning to extend the conduct of the fourth round of the national vaccination drive or the “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” program after it only reached 44 percent of its vaccination target, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said.

As of March 11, DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said 44.49 percent of the target or 836,162 people were vaccinated during the event. The program started on March 10 until March 12. The government aimed at vaccinating 1.8 million individuals during the three-day event.

Of the figure, a total of 359,546 were second doses administered; 202,915 were first doses; and 273,701 people got their booster shots, said Cabotaje.

“Ang pinag-uusapan namin kung i-extend natin. Ang sinasabi kasi ng iba nag i-NVD na sila araw-araw. Pero gusto nating i-highlight na yung national vaccination days dapat (We are discussing if we will extend this. Some vaccination sites said that they do the same efforts in NVD everyday. But what we want to highlight is that it should be) more focused, more efforts, more resources—outside of the regular efforts and resources during the regular vaccination,” said Cabotaje in a public briefing.

Cabotaje said the vaccination coverage among senior citizens is still low. She said that some elderly individuals do not want to get vaccinated because of their advanced age.

Other people, meanwhile, believe that the two vaccine doses can already provide enough protection, said Cabotaje.

“So nakita natin mababa yung ating coverage ng seniors, although ang ating mga regional offices and LGUs [local government units] ay gumawa ng strategies para ilapit ang bakuna sa ating mga mamamayan. May nag house-to-house, stall-to-stall sa malls, naging bakunahan sa simbahan, sa malalayong lugar o GIDA [geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas] (We have low coverage among the seniors, although our regional offices and LGUs have implemented strategies to bring the vaccines closer to the people. There were house-to-house vaccination, stall-to-stall vaccination in malls, vaccination in churches, and in remote areas or GIDA),” she said.

“So we need more innovative and creative strategies sa level ng ating (in the) communities dahil nakikita natin sa datos na meron pa ring kailangan ng second dose at booster dose lalo na ng ating mga senior citizens (because we are seeing that there is still a need to administer second doses and booster shots, especially among our senior citizens),” she added.

The regions that still have low vaccination coverage are Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Mimaropa, Bicol, Soccsksargen, and Central Visayas, said Cabotaje.

The DOH official emphasized the importance of vaccination as there is still a possibility that Covid-19 cases may increase.

“Kailangan po natin tanggapin na may banta pa rin ng Covid-19 at variants nito kahit mababa na ang kaso. Nandyan ang Deltacron. Huwag nating bigyan ng pagkakataon na magaya tayo sa ibang bansa na napuno ang mga hospital na hindi pa kumpleto ang bakuna (We have to remember that Covid-19 and its variants remain a threat even though the number of cases is low. The threat of Deltacron is there. Let us not be like other countries where their hospitals are full [of patients] with incomplete vaccination),” she said.

 
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