December 6, 2022

More can still be done to have all eligible population in the Cordillera vaccinated, as the nationwide rollout of anti-Covid-19 vaccines has been intensified in the recent months with the arrival of millions of vaccines in the country.

Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, Department of Health-Cordillera assistant director, said compared to eight months ago when there was a limited supply of Covid-19 vaccines that required prioritization of eligible groups, the country now has enough supply of vaccines in a wider range of brands, putting the government in a better position to vaccinate more than enough people to reach herd immunity or community protection.

In the Cordillera, Pangilinan reported the region has partially vaccinated 72.56 and fully vaccinated 51.97 percent of its eligible population of 1.275 million aged 12 years old and above as of Nov. 24.

While the progress in vaccination has accelerated in the last few weeks, Pangilinan said some provinces are yet to reach 70 percent of their respective target to receive first dose.

DOH-Cordillera records show that Benguet has 52 percent, Ifugao 48 percent, Kalinga, 63 percent, and Mountain Province, 62 percent, among other provinces, with its respective population having received first dose.

While Baguio has reached out to more than 100 percent of its target eligible population, Pangilinan said there are still some who are not yet vaccinated in some of its barangays.

“So, we are asking for the help especially from the members of the barangay health emergency response teams to go from house to house and inform mobile vaccination teams to reach the eligible individuals. We call our partners in health, fellow line agencies LGUs and other stakeholders for us to unify efforts in a diligent manner in our respective areas to search for those who are not yet vaccinated,” Pangilinan said.

She added while the vaccine prioritization scheme is no longer as faithfully followed as it was in the past, there is a need to give special focus and emphasis on looking for senior citizens and members of the poor population as they are at higher risk of being impacted by the pandemic.

With the threat of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19, Pangilinan said everybody must shift mindset and priorities, saying if there is anything learned in the last 20 months of the pandemic, it is that “virus elimination is not likely to happen soonest, so we must learn to accept the new normal actually involves living with the Covid-19 virus around us.”

“Let us learn to accept that the virus may not go out soon, so we must have to learn to live with it, and the best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to get vaccinated. The faster we achieve herd immunity, the lesser the opportunity for the virus to mutate and infect others further, and the sooner our economy can fully open,” she said.

Pangilinan along with city officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Asst. City Health Services Officer Celia Flor Brillantes, Rep. Mark Go, and Office of Civil Defense Regional Director Albert Mogol launched on Nov. 29 at the Melvin Jones grandstand Baguio’s participation in the national vaccination days, with the objective to contribute to the vaccination of 15 million more Filipinos across the 16 regions outside the National Capital Region through the three-day nationwide event from Nov 28 to Dec. 1.

Magalong added the public should not allow unvaccinated individuals who are strongly advocating against the vaccine to influence them and hoped those who are strongly advocating against vaccination will finally realize it is time that they should also get vaccinated. – Hanna C. Lacsamana