December 4, 2022

The Department of Health is setting up vaccination sites in areas commonly visited by the public, such as schools, public markets, and churches within a community, to ramp up the Covid-19 booster shot uptake.

Health Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH intended to implement a “settings approach” or establishment of inoculation sites in public spaces to bring the first booster doses closer to the target population.

“When we say settings approach, this can be the schools, workplaces, and this can be in the community. Within the community, isasama pa natin ang iba’t ibang lugar sa public katulad ng mga palengke at simbahan,” she said.

As of July 11, only about 15.3 million have an up-to-date vaccination status or have received the first booster shot. About 71 million are fully vaccinated or have completed the primary series and more than 954,000 Filipinos have received the second booster shot.

“Aside from implementing this settings approach, we are going to do our mapping up especially of the primary series, at ang gusto natin, mas high impact ang gagawin natin because we would like to at least have achievement of our coverage within the first 100 days of the current administration,” Vergeire said.

The DOH will look for the elderly and individuals with comorbidities who have yet to receive the primary series of Covid-19 vaccines.

Infectious diseases expert, Dr. Rontgene Solante, said the boosted population is still very low at less than 20 percent of the target population.

He said it was high time to mandate the booster vaccination to the general population.

Citing the vaccination numbers of neighboring Southeast Asian countries, Solante said Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have reached more than 50 percent of the target population for the booster doses.

“Kailangan, mandatory na siguro para lang ma-increase natin ang protection, especially now we’re preparing for face-to-face classes in November, and the workplaces are also open now,” he added. – PNA