Govt falls short of 5 million target in third national vaccination drive

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2022 12:48 PM | Updated as of Feb 21 2022 01:30 PM

Health workers from the Manila Health Department (MHD) administer COVID-19 vaccine on minors and senior citizens at the newly renovated Manila Zoo on January 19, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Health workers from the Manila Health Department (MHD) administer COVID-19 vaccine on minors and senior citizens at the newly renovated Manila Zoo on January 19, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Govt eyes ramping up COVID jabs among elderly, Muslims

MANILA - Government fell short of its target of 5 million inoculated individuals during the third round of the national vaccination days (NVDs), the official heading the program said Monday.

Some 3.447 million persons or 68.94 percent of the target were administered COVID-19 jabs during the third Bayanihan Bakunahan Program, according to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, head of the National Vaccination Operations Center.

Government needs to ramp up vaccination of the elderly, of which 70 percent are fully vaccinated and 68 percent have received an initial dose, Cabotaje said.

"Hindi naman vaccine hesitancy, yung iba ayaw na kasi sabi nila mamatay na sila, kung mamatay mamatay. Hindi nila naiintindihan na pag sila’y nagkasakit maaffect din ang kanilang pamilya," she said in a televised briefing.

(It's not because of vaccine hesitancy, some elderly don't want to get vaccinated because they are close to dying. They don't understand that if they get infected it would also affect their family.)

"Kailangan siguro mas mapadali ang ating mga proseso...Kailangan mabilis lang sila magbakuna at ilalapit natin sa kanila. 'Yung iba nahihirapan pumunta sa vaccination sites."

(We need to make the process easier...the vaccination faster and its site closer to them. Some find it difficult to go to vaccination sites.)

Some 3 million of the 5 million target were supposedly booster shots but people do not realize the "urgency" to get the additional dose, Cabotaje said.

The next rounds of NVDs will be adjusted "by area and by sector" to accommodate workers, she added.

"Ayaw nila magmiss ng knailang trabaho o kaya mag-side effect eh mawawalan sila ng trabaho. Tinitingnan natin ang arrangements nyan," she said. 

(They don't want to miss a day's work or if they experience side effects they will also miss work. We're looking at possible arrangments.)

Government is also looking into how to ramp up vaccination among the Muslims, particularly in the Bangsamoro region (BARMM), Cabotaje said.

"Nung NVD, tumaas yan so kailangan yung parang festive mood. Sinasabi nila may hesitancy, religious beliefs, kung ang Malaysia, Indonesia na Muslim countries ay mataas ang bakunahan, ano kaya ang pwede pang gawin sa BARMM," she said.

(It increased during NVDs, so festive mood might be needed. They say there's hesitancy because of religious beliefs. If Malaysia and Indonesia, which are Muslim countries, have a high vaccination rate, what can we do in Bangsamoro?)

"Ang may pinakamataas na bakuna Kingdom of Saudi and UAE ata, these are Muslim countries...We've been talking with the imams, minster of health, officials ng BARMM, local chief executives."

(Kingdom of Saudi and UAE are among those with highest vaccination rates, these are Muslim countries...We've been talking with the imams, minster of health, officials ng BARMM, local chief executives.)

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Video courtesy of PTV