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“Get vaccinated, boosted ahead of the holidays” - DOH IV-A official

PAGSANJAN, Laguna (PIA) — The Department of Health (DOH) Center for Health Development CALABARZON continues to vaccinate more individuals against COVID-19 ahead of the Christmas holidays, with the Bakuhang Bayan National Vaccination Days on December 5-7, 2022.

As part of the program, DOH-CHD CALABARZON, World Health Organization, UNICEF Relief International, Philippine Pediatric Society Southern Tagalog Chapter, Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, and the local government of Pagsanjan, Laguna, join the national campaign dubbed as “Bakunahang Bayan: Biyayang Proteksyon sa Paskong Pilipino, Batang Bakunado, ProtektoDOH”, in an event held at the Areza Mall and Shopping Complex, Pagsanjan, Laguna on December 6, Tuesday.

The said campaign aims to integrate routine immunization for infants aged 0-23 months old and the ongoing COVID-19 PinasLakas campaign which aims to increase the coverage for the country's Fully Immunized Children (FIC) that has been critically low.

DOH Undersecretary Dr. Enrique Tayag, DOH-CHD IV-A OIC Director IV Dr. Leda Hernandez, and Pagsanjan Mayor Cesar Areza graced the event, among others.

Usec. Tayag said that the first Christmas gift that a child could receive is the gift of safety and healthy body that a COVID-19 vaccine provides. He also urged the parents of infants to have their children inoculated with (PENTA, OPV, AND PCV) routine vaccines to prevent them from catching measles, rubella, and other diseases.

He then led the ceremonial COVID-19 vaccination and routine immunization for children.

DOH Usec. Enrique Tayag led the ceremonial COVID-19 vaccination and routine immunization for children in the Bakunahang Bayan II event in Pagsanjan, Laguna (Photo by Christopher Hedreyda, PIA-Laguna)

In an interview with the Philippine Information Agency - Laguna, DOH IV-A Assistant Regional Director Dr. Leda Hernandez said that Bakunahang Bayan serves as an ‘integrated activity’ which aims to bolster the COVID-19 vaccination coverage of the pediatric and general population and to also catch-up with routine vaccination against tuberculosis, polio, measles, and more.

She said that during the pandemic, the routine immunization rate slowed down, making all five provinces of the region in red area classification.

“Sa routine immunization, naapektuhan din po ito ng COVID pandemic medyo bumaba po tayo so nasa red areas po ang lahat ng probinsya ng CALABARZON so we hope na tumaas-taas kasi ang target ng national is 95% medyo mababa po kami. Noong nag-start po kami ng catch-up is 34% but now we are in the 40% na so this will go on hanggang last week ng December.”

Dr. Hernandez said that the challenge lies on how they can reach the more than 500,000 unvaccinated individuals in the region, but she said that with the help of health workers and social mobilizers, they could lessen the number.

“Ang dami pa pong unvaccinated. Ibig sabihin yung primary series, hindi pa nila naumpisahan for the whole CALABARZON is more than 500k pa. But we’re already 91% fully vaccinated for the whole CALABAR. So we hope na mataasan pa ‘to,” Hernandez said.

She added, “Hindi naman po tumitigil ang mga health workers doon. At meron po kaming social mobilizers for each of the provinces para i-explain doon sa mga hindi pa nagpapabakuna ang benefits ng COVID-19 vaccines”

Dr. Hernandez then cautioned the public that compliance with the minimum health standards and getting vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19 is imperative to avoid a post-Christmas surge of COVID-19 cases.

“Kaya po hindi kami tumitigil na kahit po [nagsabi] tayo na pwede nang walang masks sa mga restaurants, [inire-recommend] pa rin namin kung hangga’t maaari ay wear your masks. ‘Yung paghugas natin ng kamay, alcohol nandyan pa rin, and yung vaccination. Ito na yung armas natin para hindi magka-surge this coming Christmas and prayers.”

As of December 2, 2022, Region IV-A has a total of 10,753,096 adults fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or a 91% coverage. First booster vaccine coverage for adults still lags at about 3,259,872 or 28%.

For pediatric vaccination, children aged 5 to 11 has reached a total of 676,556 fully vaccinated individuals or 44%. DOH-CHD IV-A targets around 758,226 unvaccinated children to be inoculated. (CH/PIA-Laguna)

About the Author

Christopher Hedreyda

Region 4A

Provincial Information Center Manager, PIA Laguna

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