70% in Central Visayas inoculated against COVID-19
DOH-7 chief: Target for 'herd immunity' set higher, not yet reached
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Central Visayas has already vaccinated 70 percent of its target population against COVID-19, a year since the vaccination campaign rolled out.
In a recent press conference, the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) announced that the COVID-19 immunization coverage rate in the region had reached 71.79 percent.
This development, however, would not mean that local health officials would stop their COVID-19 vaccination drive, said DOH-7 director Dr. Jaime Bernadas.
Bernadas also said they had recently adjusted their target, from 70 percent to 80 percent, with the emergence and threats of new variants.
As a result, they did not consider this new milestone in the region’s COVID-19 vaccination drive as ‘herd immunity’.
“So, we will still be continuing to pursue the vaccination program until we reach the target that has been set”, said Bernadas.
Health officials here need to inoculate more than 5 million individuals in Central Visayas.
Dr. Van Philip Baton, program manager of DOH-7’s Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases, said Siquijor had the highest COVID-19 vaccination coverage rate among the other provinces in the region, at 91.52 percent.
Siquijor was followed by Bohol at 71.55 percent.
Cebu province and Negros Oriental, on the other hand, have yet to achieve the 70 percent target. COVID-19 immunization coverage rates in Cebu province and Negros Oriental are at 64.44 and 57.50 percent respectively.
Baton said vaccine hesitancy still prevailed as the top reason several individuals, particularly senior citizens, in Central Visayas refused to get the jab.
In the meantime, DOH-7 urged local governments to continue, and to some extent — further intensify, their COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
They also suggested to local officials to be consistent in their strategies in order to reach their goals.
In Central Visayas, only Siquijor, as a province, was deescalated to Alert Level 1, the most lenient form of community quarantine.
Other areas under Alert Level 1 are the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu; six towns in Cebu province; 48 localities in Bohol, and 25 localities in Negros Oriental.
The rest remained under Alert Level 2.
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