Bukidnon’s COVID-19 inter-agency task force has lowered its vaccination target in the province this year.
From 70% of Bukidnon’s population of about 1.5 million, the target was lowered to 50% based on the province’s vaccine supplies and the limited time left before the year’s end, said lawyer Oliver Owen Garcia, co-chairperson of the provincial COVID-19 task force.
Local governments have been aiming to inoculate 70% of their populations to achieve herd immunity status based on guidelines set by the Department of Health (DOH).
But Garcia said the 70% target by year-end in Bukidnon was already unachievable.
“What is doable right now is to inoculate half of the targeted population for vaccination,” he said.
DOH data showed an 86.72% vaccine utilization rate in Bukidnon.
Bukidnon has so far received a supply of 656,708 vaccine doses, and 569,528 people already received either one or two doses each, data from DOH-Center for Health Development in Northern Mindanao showed as of October 24.
Only some 256,000 people have so far been fully vaccinated in Bukidnon, according to Garcia.
He said they were also bringing the vaccines to the barangays because the DOH relaxed its vaccination protocols.
“We are now allowed to bring the vaccines to the barangays,” he said.
Garcia said the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Bukidnon in recent months was an eye opener that more people in the province now were seeking to get vaccinated.
“People have realized that COVID-19 is no joke because many died in August and September. Somehow, it helped in raising awareness that the vaccines can save lives,” he said.
Dr. Vincent Raguro, DOH head for Bukidnon, said the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center (BMPC) alone inoculated 206 people under the nationwide pediatric population vaccination rollout on Friday, October 29.
By Wednesday, November 3, more vaccination sites for the pediatric population will be opened in different Bukidnon municipalities.
Bukidnon has so far registered 25,831 COVID-19 cases since 2020 as of October 30.
Bukidnon also logged 457 deaths, 411 of whom were people who were unvaccinated.
Bukidnon will be under Alert Level 2 on Monday, November 1, until November 14. – Rappler.com
Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship