The Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday, October 25, that it is opening the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila for walk-in vaccinations among seniors as part of an effort to “catch up” on the inoculation of individuals part of the elderly population.
Health Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made the announcement in a press briefing on Monday, where she emphasized experts’ call to double down on the vaccination of individuals aged 60-years-old and above, after the country expanded its vaccine drive to the general adult population and 12 to 17-year-olds with comorbidites.
“Our grandfathers and grandmothers aged 60 and above are part of our high risk population that may be hit with severe or critical COVID-19 and these COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the country are effective in preventing severe or critical infections which result in hospitalizations or deaths,” Vergeire said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Walk-in vaccinations at the Fabella hospital will be available every Tuesdays and Thursdays.
In the Philippines, government officials have been hard-pressed to increase vaccination coverage levels and ensure that at least 70% of the population would be vaccinated by the May 2022 elections.
But experts cautioned against scaling up to reach this target without increasing coverage rates among high-risk groups – a scenario that will still likely see the Philippines dealing with the same problem of overwhelmed health systems.
A new analysis from analytics and life science data firm Airfinity likewise found that in six countries with high vaccination coverage, “A small change in vaccine coverage for those aged over 65 can have a significant impact on hospitalization.” The findings bolster the position of health experts who stressed that vaccination priority for the elderly and vulnerable is among the best ways to maximize limited vaccine doses.
Latest figures from the National Vaccine Operation Center showed that out of 8.5 million senior citizens in the A2 category, only about 4.6 million received both doses of a vaccine as of October 24, 2021. – Rappler.com