Davao City exceeds 70% vax rate, 5 Davao provinces from 29% to  40%

DAVAO CITY  (MindaNews / 12 Deeember) —  Davao City has exceeded its 70% vaccination target but vaccination rate in the region’s five provinces is still low, with only  29 to 40 per cent of its population fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.

Vaccination hesitancy is not the only reason behind the low rate. “There are other factors, such as fear of loss of income” and access to vaccination sites,  Health Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama told MindaNews.

People gather to get vaccinated at People’s Park, Davao City on November 29, 2021 during the start of the Philippines’ intensive national vaccination program against COVID-19. Davao City aims to vaccinate at least 49,000 residents daily during the three-day run of the national vaccination program. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Janet Olavides,  head of the DOH regional office’s vaccination campaign, said Davao City is the only local government unit in the region that has achieved more than 70% full vaccination as of December 6.

In the five Davao provinces, the number of fully vaccinated residents is only 40.2% in Davao Oriental, 38.5% in Davao del Norte, 31.6% in Davao de Oro,  29.8% in Davao Occidental and 29.3% in Davao del Sur.

Dumama said workers fear loss of income when getting jabbed and loss of income in case the vaccine has adverse side effects.

“But we’re trying to address that,” said Dumama, who heads the agency’s Visayas and Mindanao cluster.

Vaccine supply is not a problem, assured Dumama. “We have adequate supplies,” he said.  But he acknowledged there are still problems on access to the vaccination sites particularly in  far-flung areas or what are referred to as geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

But Dumam said they are augmenting manpower to address this problem.

The Philippine government initially pegged herd immunity at 70% of the total population.

But in September, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said experts recommended that the herd immunity goal be raised from 70%  to 90%  because COVID-19 variants of concern decrease the efficacy of vaccines against symptomatic infection. (Yas Ocampo / MindaNews)