DOH raises concern over turtle-paced vax coverage

By Mar S. Argulles


LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Health (DOH)o has raised concern over the sluggish vaccination coverage affecting frontline health workers in various local government units (LGUs)in the region.

Dr. Rita Mae Ang-Bon, DOH COVID-19 program coordinator on Wednesday has urged LGUs to speed up their vaccination program for reasons that the region is lagging behind its target coverage as compared to other regions.


“Bicol is second from the bottom as compared to other regions in the country marami na mga regions naka attain na ng 85 to 95% coverage in their vaccination programs,” she said.


Ang-Bon in a news briefing said the region has only attained 62 percent vaccine coverage for the A1 priority group this include frontline workers in public and private hospitals, infirmaries, quarantine and isolation facilities, rural health units and offices, stand-alone facilities, clinics, and diagnostic centers, dental clinics, dialysis centers, and COVID laboratories.


She also dismissed reports that the National Vaccine Operation Center (NVOC) has warmed that it would suspend additional vaccine roll out to regions that failed to meet their vaccination target coverage.


She said what the NVOC wanted was for the regions, including Bicol to focus on increasing vaccination coverage of Priority Group A1.


“The challenge for the LGUs is to utilize the remaining vaccines for A1 in order to increase coverage to at least 85 percent,” she said.


Citing the DOH vaccination roll-out, she said currently 113,931 persons were inoculated with either first and second doses of anti-covid vaccines in Bicol, this is only 2.6 percent of the 3.6 million 18 years old and above target population.


Of these number 66,779 (62 percent) from the A1 priority group were vaccinated, 28,884 (5 percent) A2 Priority (Senior Citizens), 3,097 (29 percent) persons with comorbidities and 2,315 (.06 percent) frontline uniformed personnel.


As for the vaccine deployment and utilization Albay ranked first with 14,614 jabs with 89 percent coverage rate, second was Camarines Norte 6,430 doses 85 percent coverage.


Failing to meet the minimum coverage mark include: Catanduanes 5,687 with 62 percent coverage followed by Sorsogon 11,616 jabs at 61 percent coverage, Camarines Sur 27,687 jabs with only 56 percent coverage, and Masbate 16,344 with 40 percent coverage.


She said with the current situation, she challenged local government units to intensify their vaccination coverage by looking back at their planned vaccine master list especially those health frontliners that are still undecided.


Ang-Bon explained that with a low vaccination coverage rate in the region would face serious consequences such as increasing the danger of the virus infections among frontline health workers, and for the communities to experience frequent lockdowns, while health facilities would be full with patients due to the spikes in COVID cases.


The simultaneous implementation program in various local government units covering frontline health workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities has left behind those other health workers that were either still undecided and assigned in remote areas, she said.


COVID Update:


Bicol logged 220 new cases on Monday the highest so far since last week, this adds to 3,131 active cases with 103 recoveries.


DOH tracker showed that it recorded 10,963 cumulative cases since March last year, with 7,456 recoveries and 356 deaths.