Health workers use sweet treats to make Cagayan de Oro kids get jabs

Bobby Lagsa
Health workers use sweet treats to make Cagayan de Oro kids get jabs

COLORFUL COSTUME. A man, dressed up as a mascot, do the rounds at a COVID-19 vaccination center for children in Cagayan de Oro City.

Cagayan de Oro City Information Office

With the lively and child-friendly ambiance and sweet treats, the local government hopes to lure more children into its vaccination sites

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Public health workers in the city are giving children sweet treats to convince them into getting vaccinated.

At a major vaccination site at the SM Downtown Premiere mall in downtown Cagayan de Oro, children were being given free ice cream, cotton candies, and other treats.

Cagayan de Oro started to roll out its vaccination campaign for five- to 11-year-old children in the city on Valentine’s Day, and inoculated some 1,893 during the first two days or as of Wednesday, February 16.

Regionwide, the Department of Health (DOH) aims to give jabs to 730,947 vaccination-eligible children across Northern Mindanao, including Cagayan de Oro.

Dr. Teodoro Yu, a medical officer at the Cagayan de Oro City Health Office, said front-line health workers in the city were also making sure that the vaccination sites for children would have the ambiance of playgrounds.

With the lively and child-friendly ambiance and the sweet treats, local officials hope to entice more children into getting jabs so the local government could inoculate its initial children’s population target of 55,000.

KID’S JAB. A health worker prepares to give a girl her first COVID-19 vaccine dose in Cagayan de Oro. (Cagayan de Oro City Information Office)

In general, Cagayan de Oro’s health workers have fared well in their goal of vaccinating 599,929 residents. As of Tuesday, February 15, they have already inoculated 528,024 people or 88.01% of those identified as eligible for vaccination while 555,888 others or 92.65% were waiting for their second doses.

Yu said 1,893 children were administered their first vaccine shots in two of three vaccination sites for children during the first two days of the campaign.

Two of the vaccination sites – at the mall and the JR Borja Memorial General Hospital – are being managed by city hall while the DOH set up another at the newly-opened Saint Francis Medical Center in uptown Cagayan de Oro where walk-in vaccination services for children are given.

Yu said the city’s health workers were going the extra mile in their efforts to lure more children into getting inoculated – they even dressed up like they were in a children’s party.

He said private groups such as the SM Group have been helping the local government by providing some of the giveaways for children. “Hopefully, we can have sponsors so we can sustain this,” Yu said.

DRESSED UP AND WAITING. Frontline health workers dress up for the occasion as they waiti and prepare to give jabs to children in Cagayan de Oro. (Cagayan de Oro City Information Office)

He said the outcome of the first few days of the children’s vaccination campaign in the city was encouraging. 

“We didn’t have reports of children having anxiety attacks. The playground feel of the vaccination sites helped a lot,” he said.

He also said the health workers assigned in these sites were well-trained and experienced in dealing with children reluctant or afraid of needles.

Cagayan de Oro was placed under the less strict Alert Level category on Thursday, after days of consistent drop in its number of new single-day COVID-19 cases. The city saw its COVID-19 cases surging in January, after the holidays. It was aggravated by the spread of the more transmissible Omicron variant of the virus. –

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