Lack of role models hinders achievement of vax targets
Reluctance of persons in authority to have their Covid-19 shots remains the top factor that contributes to vaccine hesitance.
The Department of Health-Cordillera reported while the region has achieved its target of inoculating 80 percent of its target population, a significant number is yet to receive any protection from the virus that causes the Covid-19.
DOH-CAR Assistant Director Amelita Pangilinan said for provinces that have the lowest vaccination coverage, the failure of community leaders, among others, to set the example for their constituents is challenging vaccination efforts.
Pangilinan said low vaccination ratesin Benguet and Ifugao is attributed to the fact there are some barangay officials, teachers, a school principal, and even health workers who are not yet vaccinated against the Covid-19.
“This influenced their constituents to also refuse vaccination,” Pangilinan said, adding rampant misconceptions regarding vaccination and personal and religious convictions of residents are also among the reasons for the low vaccination coverage.
Disinformation, perpetrated by individuals who are against vaccination, also adds to the challenge.
Pangilinan said anti-vaxxers select provisions of the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act to bolster their arguments against vaccination.
“They have been cherry picking certain provisions of the law to boost their advocacies against vaccination, saying that the vaccination is experimental, those vaccinated are not immune from the Covid-19, or (presentation of) the vaccination cards are not mandatory,” she added.
Since the vaccination rollout, Benguet and Ifugao have consistently lagged in inoculating their constituents and are yet to achieve the 70 percent vaccination rate.
As of July 5, DOH-CAR data showed Benguet have fully vaccinated 247,657 out of its 394,649 target population or a 62.75 vaccination rate.
Ifugao has reached out to 93,590 vaccinees out of its 172,134 target or a coverage rate of 54.37 percent.
Baguio remains to log the highest vaccination coverage, inoculating 335,205 out of its 305,448 population target or a rate of 109.74 percent.
Among the provinces, Abra has the highest vaccination rate, reaching out to 205,965 vaccinees out of its 201,244 target or a coverage rate of 102.35 percent followed by Apayao that inoculated 84,654 or 83.61 percent of its 101,250 target.
Kalinga has vaccinated 148,602 individuals or 82.76 of its 179,754 target while Mountain Province has vaccinated 95,631 or 75.11 percent of its 127,314 target.
Benguet and Ifugao remains under alert level 2 risk classification for their failure to meet the 70 percent vaccination coverage.
Baguio and the other four provinces are under alert level 1. – Jane B. Cadalig