Abalos orders LGUs to step up Covid vax, booster drive as Omicron cases soar

Published July 30, 2022, 1:12 PM

by Chito Chavez

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos Jr. directed on Saturday, July 30, all local government units (LGUs) to step-up their Covid-19 vaccination and booster inoculation efforts amid the rising number of 890 Omicron BA.5 subvariant infection in the country.

“The DILG is one with PBBM (President Bongbong Marcos) as we altogether aim for improved booster inoculation, hence, we direct all LGUs to ramp up their vaccination drives and encourage the eligible segment of the population to take advantage of the protection the booster shots offer,” Abalos said.

He said LGUs are integral in communicating the importance of boosters to overcome vaccination hesitancy and increase the number of eligible citizens that are boosted.

“Inaasahan ko ang pakikiisa ng bawat LGU upang mas paigtingin ang pagpapa-booster sa kanilang mga lokalidad. Alam nila ang pulso ng kanilang nasasakupan, kaya mas maipararating nila ang ating mensahe na ito (Covid-19 vaccines and boosters) ay ligtas at isa sa pinakamabisa nating sandata laban sa Covid-19 (I expect the cooperation of the LGUs to enhance the booster campaign in their localities. They know the sentiments of their turfs that is why they can send the message that it is safe and one of the most effective weapons against Covid-19),’’ he added.

As of July 25, only 15.9 million have received their booster doses out of the 71.5 million who are already fully vaccinated.

Intensified vaccination efforts

Abalos, in the DILG Memorandum dated July 15, 2022, directed LGUs to ramp up their vaccination efforts and instructs them to urge and reach out to all their unvaccinated and booster-eligible constituents; address vaccine hesitancy, particularly in rural and far-flung areas; bridge the gap between vaccination services and communities to make it easier for the people to get inoculated; and, avoid vaccine wastage by ensuring that all available vaccines are administered in their respective areas.

“Now is the best time to get vaccinated and boosted as we continue to move forward and prepare for the full conduct of face-to-face classes which is already near. Let us all do our part in achieving the protection population that can ultimately benefit the whole Filipino citizenry,” Abalos insisted.

The DILG secretary also urged LGUs to support the Department of Health’s (DOH) PinasLakas (Enhancement) campaign which was launched on July 26, 2022.

PinasLakas is the revitalized government Covid-19 vaccination and booster campaign that aims to achieve the government’s targets of vaccinating 90 percent of senior citizens and boosting 50 percent of the eligible population in the first 100 days of the administration.

It also highlights the unity between government agencies, LGUs, the health sector, the private sector and other key organizations towards Covid-19 population protection.

“Hinihikayat ko po ang lahat ng LGUs na makiisa sa PinasLakas upang mas lalong maprotektahan ang ating ating senior citizens at lumakas ang immunity ng eligible population (I am encouraging all the LGUs to support the PinasLakas to further protect our senior citizens and strengthen the immunity of the eligible population),’’ Abalos said.

“Habang hindi pa tapos ang pandemya (while the pandemic is still present), the government shall keep being fully active in rolling out our vaccine and booster drives as well as strictly enforce the minimum public health standards (MPHS). This way, we can embrace a better normal safely and freely,” he noted.

Through the campaign, the DOH shall install more vaccine sites in markets, places of worship, malls, transport terminals, offices, factories, plazas and schools. Likewise, home visits can be provided for senior citizens. (Chito A. Chavez)