COVID-19 vaccines

Western Visayas hits COVID-19 vaccination drive target

Joseph B.A. Marzan
Western Visayas hits COVID-19 vaccination drive target

VACCINATION. Cebu residents receive vaccine booster jabs at a COVID-19 vaccination facility in Cebu City on February 2.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

At least 73,641 individuals out of 44,006 get inoculated in the region during the last national vaccination drive

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – The Department of Health-Western Visayas (DOH-WV) on Monday, March 21, said it reached its COVID-19 vaccination drive target.

DOH-WV’s data, presented on Monday, indicated a 101.77% total target turnout, with 156,828 people jabbed amid a target population of 154,097.

At least 73,641 people got inoculated out of the initial target of 44,006 people.

The region fell short, however, with its senior citizen targets, with only 6,885 out of 52,731 showing up for their second doses and 30,691 out of 52,731 turning out for their booster shots.

In the senior citizen category, only Guimaras exceeded the 70% eligible population target of 85.83%, followed by Iloilo province (37.38%), Aklan (8.95%), Negros Occidental (7.43%), and Antique (3.40%).

Capiz, Bacolod City, and Iloilo City did not have targets for senior citizens, which reflected a 0% accomplishment, even if they were able to vaccinate senior citizens.

For the booster shots, Guimaras (156.28%), Iloilo province (89.72%) and Negros Occidental (76.82%) exceeded the threshold, while Antique (58.45%), Iloilo City (36.19%), Aklan (35.63%), Bacolod City (20.67%), and Capiz (18.55%) had lower turnouts.

The regional health agency’s spokesperson, Mariebe Adrias, pointed to two main weaknesses in their vaccination drives: local government unit (LGU) support no longer focusing on vaccinations alone, and the distances between residences and vaccination sites.

“Aside COVID vaccination, [LGUs] also take care of [other aspects] of COVID response, and they are also busy with other activities to focus on, and likewise vaccinations for [minors aged] 5 to 11 years old are also simultaneous,” Adrias said.

“The distance between the vaccination sites and the residence of the target populations (…) affect the cold chains for the vaccines. We cannot bring vaccines to some of the areas because we see that our cold chain equipment, including the vaccine carriers, cannot last to maintain the temperature which may destroy the vaccines as we travel [especially] to Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas,” she added.

Adrias said their strengths were the LGU’s “eagerness,” and a stable supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the region.

Regionwide, 4.73 million have been fully vaccinated in the Western Visayas, which is 73.68% of its eligible population. Meanwhile, at least 582,576 individuals already received their booster shots, while 195,265 are partially vaccinated. – Rappler.com

Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist and is a recipient of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.

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