COVID-19

Unvaccinated rush to get jabs as Cagayan de Oro applies ‘no vax, no entry’ rule

Herbie Gomez
Unvaccinated rush to get jabs as Cagayan de Oro applies ‘no vax, no entry’ rule

RUSH. Unvaccinated persons rush to get their shots as Cagayan de Oro implements its 'no vax, no entry' rule.

Cagayan de Oro City Information Office

Cagayan de Oro eyes daily vaccination of 10,000 for 25 days to hit its target of 70% herd immunity

Cagayan de Oro officials have seen the rate of daily COVID-19 inoculations doubling since last week, and attributed it to malls and other establishments that have been refusing entry to the unvaccinated.

At the rate the city’s vaccination rollout is moving these days, Cagayan de Oro might just achieve a 70% herd immunity status by year-end or even much earlier, said Dr. Teodoro Yu Jr., medical officer and data analyst of the City Health Office.

The city’s public health frontliners have been inoculating an average of 10,000 people a day since Cagayan de Oro advised malls and other establishments to require vaccination cards from those wanting to get in.

It was a 100% increase in the number of single-day vaccinees compared to the days when the requirements were QR codes, face shields, and face masks.

The city has ditched the face shield and QR code rule this month and started the “no vax, no entry” policy.

Even government offices in the city are now requiring people to show their vaccination cards first.

“We used to vaccinate 5,000 a day. Now, it’s an average of 10,000 daily,” said city hall spokesperson Maricel Casiño-Rivera. 

To achieve a 70% herd immunity, Cagayan de Oro needs to inoculate 518,518 residents.

City hall counted 281,276 fully vaccinated people in Cagayan de Oro as of mid-November.

Dr. Yu said city hall could hit the mark, and inoculate the remaining 237,242 in 25 days if it can sustain and continue the daily vaccination of 10,000 people.

“We have a strong vaccination program in Cagayan de Oro,” Yu told Rappler.

Rivera said while Cagayan de Oro eased quarantine restrictions due to a significant drop in newly-documented, single-day COVID-19 infections, the city’s “no vax, no entry” policy encouraged the unvaccinated to rush to the vaccination centers to seek jabs.

Doctors at the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) are happy. Last week, there was only one COVID-19 patient in NMMC’s intensive care unit, and another one the week before that, who recuperated and was discharged from the hospital.

Doctors attributed the significant improvement in the city’s hospital care utilization rate to the growing number of people who received jabs in the city.

Inconvenience

In a way, the new vaccination card requirement inconvenienced the unvaccinated and limited their activities, and their access to services.

Rivera said vaccination cards would also be required in schools, from those seeking work overseas, and those seeking to take police, military, and other government examinations.

Mao ng masuko ning anti-vaxxers kay ma-limit man ilang freedom kung unvaccinated,” Rivera said. (That is why anti-vaxxers are angry because they feel this limits their freedom.)

True enough, not everyone is happy with the “no vax, no entry” policy.

A group of Born Again pastors in Cagayan de Oro, led by self-styled Bishop Herbert Gadian, is now at the forefront of the campaign against the move to make vaccination cards mandatory, arguing that the policy was an affront to fundamental rights and freedom, and citizens’ right to choose not to be vaccinated.

Over Magnum Radio, Gadian said his group was not against the government’s vaccination program and neither was it scoffing at those who have chosen to receive jabs.

But Gadian subsequently questioned the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, asserting that people were being subjected to experiments through the vaccination rollouts.

Gadian also said many of those vaccinated ended up dead, but he did not cite data.

Early this month, a group sent Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno and Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano “cease and desist” notices, warning them of lawsuits if city hall implemented what it called “extreme policies” such as making vaccination cards mandatory.

Moreno and Emano rejected the notices.

Vaccines work

Dr. Yu said the COVID-19 mortality data in Cagayan de Oro showed that 90% of those who did not survive were unvaccinated or worse, COVID-19 vaccination-hesitant.

“The same thing is happening everywhere. Science and data show that the vaccines work,” he said.

Yu also said one problem was science illiteracy and the lack of appreciation of scientific consensus.

“It’s not as if people are like frogs being dissected in a laboratory as some people imagine it to be. That is misinformation. The challenge is how to make some people understand that that is not the case here,” Yu told Rappler. – Rappler.com