CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro’s public health workers are working to administer COVID-19 vaccine shots to as many people as possible as they near the December 31 deadline for the COVID-19 nationwide vaccination program.
City Health Office (CHO) Immunization Program coordinator Dr. Ina Grace Chiu said the Department of Health (DOH) issued an advisory that the nationwide vaccination program will end on December 31.
“We still don’t have word on what vaccines we will receive or if these [would] be donated or (if) we have to buy the vaccines. So we appeal to the unvaccinated or partly vaccinated to get their free shots now,” said Chiu.
Of the recalibrated target of 526,613 residents the CHO aimed to inoculate from July 1 to December 10, only 89,271 people have received their first and second vaccine doses, and booster shots. The final booster shots administered in the city stand at 44.15%.
As for the city’s elderly, only 310 received their primary dosage as of December 10.
Chiu said that of the city’s 700,000 population, 627,003 residents received their first doses while 592,833 got their second doses since the launch of the nationwide vaccination program in March 2021.
“So, admittedly, there are still a lot more people who need to complete their vaccine shots to secure protection from COVID-19,” Chiu said.
City epidemiologist Dr. Teodulfo Joselito Retuya Jr. said there was a need to ramp up the inoculation of children aged 5 and older, especially with the coming holidays.
“We are concerned about this spike due to the increased movement of people. While others need to secure their shots, the public should still comply with minimum health protocols,” he said.
As of 10 pm Sunday, December 11, the CHO reported that the city had only one new COVID-19 infection and 47 active cases.
Of the 47 active cases, 23 were in the city’s private and public hospitals and 24 were in the city’s isolation facilities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic tragically reminded us of the fact that we are lagging in the field of virology, science, and technology,” said Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has filed House Bill No. 6452, which seeks to establish the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines. The measure has been approved on second reading in the House of Representatives.
He said the institute would be attached to the Department of Science and Technology should the bill be enacted into law. – Rappler.com