Albay bishop urges Bicolanos to get their COVID-19 shots

Rhaydz B. Barcia
Albay bishop urges Bicolanos  to get their COVID-19 shots

People wait in tents on the grounds of the Albay Cathedral in Legazpi City to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Courtesy of Diocese of Legazpi

The Albay Cathedral opens its doors for Bayanihan Bakunahan to help improve coverage in the Bicol region, where only 25% of the population is fully vaccinated

The Albay Cathedral opened its grounds on Monday, November 29, as a response to the national government’s three-day COVID-19 vaccination drive with local officials and the private sector joining forces with the aim of improving inoculation rates in Bicol.

“We have instructed all parishes to announce this three-day national vaccination program at all the masses today and encourage all persons concerned to avail of this opportunity,” Bishop Joel “Bong” Z. Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi told Rappler on Sunday.

Gilbert T. Sadsad, the Bicol regional director of the Department of Education (DepEd), issued a directive to schools division offices to have teachers and non-teaching personnel as volunteers in the three-day drive, dubbed as Bayanihan Bakunahan.

The DepEd here announced last week it would open public schools across the region for the vaccination drive.

Sadsad added 345 school health personnel, teaching staff, and non-teaching staff from DepEd Bicol have enlisted as volunteers as of November 29.

The national drive takes advantage of the November 30 Bonifacio Day holiday to boost the goal of achieving herd immunity in the Philippines. The Bicol region, on the southernmost tip of Luzon, is among the regions lagging in coverage. 

Only around 25% of the region’s population is fully vaccinated, the regional health office said on November 22. 

DOH Bicol set a target of inoculating more than one million Bicolanos in 540 sites over three days. The health department here aims to administer 384,320 jabs a day to cover almost 1.153 million.

Dr. Monrey Isaiah C. Mancilla, officer in charge for the regional vaccination operations, said they have 1.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines on standby.

Around 1,700 medical volunteers will be deployed throughout the region’s six provinces to perform registration, counseling, screening, vaccination, monitoring and recording, Mancilla added.

The three-day vaccine drive aims to halve the number of unvaccinated Bicolanos, estimated at 2.48 million. It targets the general population aged 18 years old and above, but also includes minors aged 12 to 17. 

Booster doses will also be given to those belonging to the A1, A2, and A3 priority groups, or healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.

The Department of Health in Bicol aims to vaccinate at least 3.68 million eligible Bicolanos or 60% to 70% out of the region’s population of 6 million. The figure does not include minors now allowed to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots. –

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