Galvez: Accessibility, other challenges hinder regional vaccinations

Jodesz Gavilan

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Galvez: Accessibility, other challenges hinder regional vaccinations

VACCINE DRIVE. Minors with commorbidities receive jabs during the launching of the pediatric vaccination against COVID-19 in Cebu City on October 29, 2021.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. says the government is studying a proposal to launch National Vaccine Days to ramp up vaccination rates in regions across the Philippines

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday, November 8, said accessibility and limited facilities hinder some regions in the Philippines from driving up their vaccination rates.

Citing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as an example, Galvez said, “Unang-una na nakita natin, accessibility, karamihan sa kanila geographically-isolated areas, iyong Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi.” (First, we saw accessibility as a challenge, because many are in geographically-isolated areas like Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi.)

Limited talaga ang cold chain facilities,” Galvez said during the Laging Handa briefing. (Cold chain facilities are really limited.)

Galvez: Accessibility, other challenges hinder regional vaccinations

As of November 2, BARMM has vaccinated 8.9% of its population, according to data from the Department of Health (DOH).

Soccsksargen and Bicol also lag among regions, registering 20.1% and 19.4% vaccination rates, respectively.

Galvez also cited the lack of vaccinators as another issue, but said that the government is fixing this by partnering with associations of medical professionals, such as the Philippine Medical Association, to tap volunteers.

Ang nakita natin, itong mga problema at challenges na ito, unti-unting nalulunasan (We see that these challenges and problems are being addressed),” he said.

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‘National Vaccination Days’

The government is also now studying the proposal to launch “National Vaccination Days” on November 29, 30, and December 1.

No details were released on how it will be carried out, but Galvez said it aims to ramp up the vaccination rates in struggling areas.

“Kaya gagawin natin ang vaccination dates para iyong mga lugar na medyo mahirap, mabigyan natin ng support in terms of numbers of vaccinators and also iyong mga personnel na puwedeng mag-encode,” he said.

(We will be having these vaccination dates so that areas facing difficulties will be given support in terms of number of vaccinators and volunteers.)

At least 26.75% of the entire Philippine population have been fully vaccinated as of November 7.

The Philippine government aims to reach its target to vaccinate 50% of the entire population by December 2021. It later targets to vaccinate 70% by the May 2022 elections, and eventually reach 90%.

An average of 350,000 to 500,000 jabs a day is needed to achieve the 70% target by next year, according to former health secretary Manuel Dayrit.

The daily average doses administered over the past 7 days was at 697,025, as of November 7. –

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.