Cebu province has most number of unvaxed in PH – nat’l govt
CEBU CITY, Philippines – For the fourth round of the nationwide ‘special COVID-19 vaccination days’, resources and efforts have been focused on several areas such as Cebu that still have low COVID-19 vaccination coverage rates.
This is because Cebu province has the highest number of individuals who have yet to receive COVID-19 vaccines, officials from the national government recently announced.
“As of now, Cebu province has the highest number of unvaccinated sa buong Pilipinas,” said Dr. Keiza Rosario, co-leader of the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC), in an interview with state media Radyo Pilipinas last Tuesday, March 28.
Rosario also said that there are an estimated 1 million unvaccinated individuals in Cebu province.
“Sa Central Visayas po may mga provinces tayo na medyo mataas pa yung unvaccinated doon. So we are focusing lately sa Cebu province…We are estimating na around 1 million pa mga unvaccinated ay mga kababayan natin sa Cebu province,” she added.
Last Wednesday, March 30, the government began another round of special vaccination days in selected areas such as Central Visayas and BARMM which still have a lot of unvaccinated individuals.
Authorities pointed to vaccine hesitancy and accessibility to vaccines as some of the primary reasons why some areas in the Philippines, such as Cebu province, suffer low vaccination coverage rates.
Sought for their comments, local health officials here expressed hope that the ongoing special vaccination days would help improve Cebu province’s COVID-19 immunization coverage rate.
“Sadly, that is true. That’s why we have converged to Cebu province on these SVDs (special vaccination days) to improve our coverage,” said Dr. Jaime Bernadas, director of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7), in a text message sent to reporters.
DOH-7, in an earlier press briefing, identified at least 12 localities in Cebu province that needed support from their agency and other concerned government agencies in ramping up their vaccination coverages, particularly among senior citizens.
These are the towns of Balamban, Bantayan, Barili, Daanbantayan, Dalaguete, Pinamungajan, San Fernando, San Francisco, Tuburan, and the cities of Carcar, Danao, and Toledo.
However, Bernadas also pointed out that Cebu province’s large population could have explained why it needed to catch up in its COVID-19 vaccination drive.
“In terms of actual numbers, daku gyud ang population sa Cebu kaya, as I said, mas daghan pa ang wa ma cover sa vaccination due to the reasons we cited earlier,” he added.
Based on the latest census, Cebu province has a population of roughly 3.3 million people. The figures did not include the three independent cities which are Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu.
For the national government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, each area needs to inoculate 70 percent of its current population.
This means that the province needed to vaccinate at least 2.3 million individuals to reach this goal.
Latest data from DOH-7 showed that Cebu province’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage rate is still at 53.5 percent, which translates to 1.7 million vaccinated people.
For the province’s part, they, too, are hoping that the intensified vaccination campaign will contribute to bringing down the number of unvaccinated individuals.
Aside from vaccine hesitancy and lack of accessibility, other factors such as the aftermath of Typhoon Odette have greatly affected the province’s performance in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
According to Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, the Capitol’s consultant on health affairs, Cebu province experienced delay in receiving supply of COVID-19 vaccines since it was not part of the priority areas during the first stages of the vaccination rollout. Loreche also pointed to logistical challenges in bringing the vaccines to far-flung areas where, she said, most of the unvaccinated individuals reside.
“However, the efforts now of house to house, barangay and sitio level vaccination drives will definitely improve the performance and cut down the numbers on unvaccinated,” said Loreche in a separate message.
“We are very grateful to the support of the NVOC and the national government for the NVD focusing on the province,” she added.
DOH-7 is targeting to inoculate at least 40,000 individuals in Cebu province for the ongoing special vaccination days. /rcg
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