December 2, 2022

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Department of Health-Cordillera has put in place additional measures to improve Covid-19 vaccination rates in Benguet and Ifugao, especially after the hesitancy of some barangay officials and elders in these provinces has resulted in low vaccination rates.
Karen Lonogan, head of DOH Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU), said 40 personnel hired by the agency will help in the information, education, campaign and will do house-to-house vaccination in the provinces of Ifugao and Benguet.
She said Benguet’s vaccination rate is now at 56 percent from the previous report of 52 percent. Ifugao is now at 52 percent from 50 percent.
“The factors we saw are ‘mirroring’ where residents continue to refuse to take the vaccine because they have leaders and elders who have not yet been vaccinated,” Lonogan said.
She added religious belief is another factor that came out in their report for the residents’ refusal to be vaccinated.
Lonogan, however, said those engaged in the vaccination program are doing their best to reach every resident and convince them to get the vaccine.
“They are not slow but Benguet and Ifugao are difficult when it comes to vaccination. But we can see how they are working hard on improving their vaccination achievement. We know how difficult it is when we coordinate it with the community because we hear a lot of hesitancy from the community,” she said.
She said health partners continue doing their rounds in every barangay, sitio, and purok to reach the communities for their jabs.
Lonogan said personnel augmentation will stay until both provinces have reached at least a 70 percent vaccination accomplishment rate.
The official emphasized the importance of vaccination.
“Ang sinasabi natin, sama-sama tayo as a family because Covid-19 is here to stay. If one is unsafe, hindi safe ang lahat so we need to help each other on this one,” Lonogan said.
She said they hope the provinces will soon be placed under alert level 1 and have fewer restrictions.
“We are hoping that if we gather our leaders, stakeholders, the people will get the vaccine,” she said.
As of March 31, the Cordillera’s full vaccination accomplishment is 75.53 percent of the target 1,481,793 eligible population.
Baguio City’s vaccination rate is at 105.29 percent, Abra at 93.10 percent, Apayao at 78.06 percent, Kalinga at 75.16 percent, Mountain Province at 68.87 percent, Benguet at 56.48 percent, and Ifugao at 52.48 percent. – PNA