DOH-12 urges LGUs to hasten vaccination of senior citizens

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 20 October)  – Health authorities in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) have urged local government units in the area to further accelerate the ongoing vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for their vulnerable senior citizens or elderly population.

Dr. Edvir Jane Montañer, Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 immunization manager, said the region needs to increase the vaccination coverage among senior citizens or priority group A2, which remained way below their target as of Wednesday.

She said that out of the 314,465 eligible A2 population in the area, only 128,153 or 40.75 percent are so far fully vaccinated.

Montañer said the National Vaccine Operations Center (NVOC) has made the A2 inoculation accomplishment as a requirement for the expansion of the COVID-19 mass vaccination to the pediatric group or those aged 12 to 17 years old.

“We cannot expand to our pediatric group if we will not reach at least 50 percent of our target for the A2 population,” she said in a report.

She appealed to concerned stakeholders to help campaign for the vaccination of the remaining senior citizens, who are considered as the most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection.

As of Oct. 19, she said that a total of 1,287,506 residents in the entire Soccsksargen and Cotabato City have already received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.

DOH-12 manages the vaccination activities in Cotabato City, which is already under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The agency has targeted to vaccinate a combined 3,523,867 residents, which represent 70 percent of the area’s adult population or those aged 18-years-old and above, until the end of the year to achieve population protection.

Montañer assured that the region has enough vaccine supplies to cope with the ongoing mass vaccination activities.

As of Oct. 18, she said that NVOC already delivered a total of 2,043,657 vaccine doses in Soccsksargen and in Cotabato City.

This is composed of Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Janssen, Moderna and Pfizer brands.

Montañer said at least 264,903 vaccine doses are currently on standby in local health offices and 509,290 doses at the regional vaccine hub in Cotabato City.

“We don’t have any problem with the vaccines right now, it’s how to give them to our residents,” she said. (MindaNews)