DAVAO CITY, November 18 (PIA) - A pool of experts gathered to discuss in the Dagyaw 2021: Virtual Town Hall Meeting the present situation of the vaccination roll-out in Davao Region and the experiences of each in taking the path to herd immunity.
Dagyaw 2021 is a series of open dialogues that aim to clarify government programs that affect local communities and gives a platform to regular citizens to raise local concerns to the government. It is a project of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), and civic society organizations.
WHERE ARE WE NOW IN THE VACCINATION ROLL-OUT?
The Department of Health XI reported that 1,576,640 individuals are already full-vaccinated while 1,769,430 have already received their first dose. As of November 15, the region has so far received 5,220,844 doses of COVID19 vaccines and have distributed 4,175,708 doses to the different areas in the region.
The latest data from Davao City on vaccination is that it has already reached 73.21% of herd immunity for those who received the first dose while 67.31% are already fully-vaccinated.
“In our vaccination roll-out, we employed the whole of government and nation approach. All government assets are being mobilized”, DOH XI assistant regional director Dr. Lenny Joy Rivera described the strategy employed in the region to speed-up the vaccination program.
“As soon as the vaccines arrived in Manila, these are delivered to Davao and from Davao we deliver these to the different provinces. We have proper allocation of vaccines to make sure that vaccination would be sustained and there would be enough vaccines in all areas in Davao Region,” Dr. Rivera said.
The DOH XI attributed the significant reduction of COVID19 cases to the massive vaccination activities in the. Latest DOH XI data showed that the region now only have 30 new cases, a significant dip from the previous numbers which reached as high as 500 and deaths as high as 100 deaths in a day.
Dr. Rivera said that a big factor to lesser cases these days is the continuation of vaccination against COVID19.
WHOLE OF NATION APPROACH
The Davao City local government admitted that they had difficulty in handling the vaccination roll-out alone.
The target jabs and the growing demand for vaccines pushed the local government to think of ways to be more fast and efficient in getting the target population vaccinated.
“For our strategies, we established a vaccination hub in all 18 health districts, we partnered and engaged with the private sector to help us in the roll-out, we made sure to reach the GIDA areas, and we intensified our education and information campaign,” said Davao City COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser.
The Davao City LGU identified industry sectors and partnered with each sectoral group to help the LGU in holding vaccination activities within their sector.
Mall owners pitched in by allowing the use of the mall as vaccination site. Educational institutions also provided manpower and logistical support to hold vaccination for their own employees. Other civic groups also organized their own vaccination activities and willingly covered the expenses like meals and other logistical requirements.
“We really commend our partner private sector for helping us with the logistics ensuring fast and effective vaccination roll-out,” Dr. Rivera said.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE: THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE
While the government and other partner institutions speed-up the vaccination roll-out, real and challenging bumps were experienced along the way.
“ The biggest challenge in this pandemic is how to change the people’s behavior. All sort of information including fake news are readily available in social media,” Dr. Schlosser said.
Despite a massive information drive done by the government and the private to influence people in getting vaccinated, some have remained hesitant while some have publicly campaigned against getting a COVID19 vaccine shot.
“To counter that, we bring information through the DCDR Radio which is both radio and online and we do “rekorida” by bringing information into the barangays. We intensify educating the people especially the IP communities, and religious groups. The government holds dialogue or conference with them,” Dr. Schlosser explained.
A representative of a non-government organization Mahintana Foundation Inc Executive Director Liza D. Hora cited how her NGO ensured to be a member of the local vaccine operation center and help the government in the vaccination program.
“Nagpamember mi sa LVOC (local vaccination operation center) aron makahibalo mi unsaon pagtabang sa gobyerno. Kung unsa ang kulang, didto mi mangita ug paagi nga makatabang. Nagsab-it mi ug mga tarpaulin sa mga barangay aron mabasa ug masabtan sa tao kabahin sa bakuna. Nakigmeeting pud mi sa mga tribo, sa mga barangay kay kini nakita namo nga mas epektibo. In our own way, we also indentified champions like political leaders, health service providers and we produced video clips of them,” Dr. Hora shared.
Adult Infectious Disease expert Dr. Kathy Roa stressed the importance of ensuring information and education as well as access to vaccines be provided to the people especially in GIDA or Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas.
“Kinahanglan nga ang information ug ang vaccine mapaduul sa tao. Mas epektibo ang programa kung sayon nila makuha ang bakuna ug dali ug sakto nga impormasyon ang ilang madungog. Ang pag-edukar ug paghatag ug bakuna kanunay mag-uban. Our barangay people would be very helpful in disseminating information. Each one of us especially those vaccinated can be champions who will help dispel wrong information to those who are still hesitant in getting vaccinated. We can all be champions in this campaign,” Dr. Roa said.
One of the major problems faced during the vaccination round is people’s distrust on certain vaccine brands. Individuals still back out on the last minute when they learn that they won’t be injected with the vaccine brand of their choice. This concern add up to the challenges encountered by the different LGUs.
However, in Davao City Dr. Schlosser shared that the LGU addressed this concern by providing the people with all sort of vaccines and they could choose which brand to be administered on them.
This way, more and more individuals are encouraged to get inoculated. (PIA XI/Frances Mae Macapagat)