September 25, 2023

Notwithstanding the challenges of vaccination such as hesitancy, bias for certain brands, lack of supplies during the early stages of vaccine deployment, and difficulty reaching remote areas, the Cordillera was able to vaccinate 90 percent of its eligible population against the Covid-19.

The Cordillera is one of the three regions in the country to reach this feat, according to Department of Health-Cordillera Director Rio Magpantay.

But the DOH continues to face challenges as it shifts its campaign to convincing more people to have their booster shots.

The other two regions are the National Capital Region and Region 2.

During the launching of Pinas Lakas campaign for the transportation sector at Barangay Sto. Niño in Baguio City on Aug. 26, Magpantay said while the Cordillera went beyond the target vaccination rate, booster vaccination is still low.

Barangay Sto. Niño-Slaughter-house Compound is host of buses bound for provinces in the Cordillera. The barangay is also one of the first that have recorded a cluster of Covid-19 transmissions in 2020.

The target of the current administration is to administer booster shots on 50 percent of those who already got the primary series of their vaccination by Oct. 8, or on the first 100 days of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. But to date, only 27.7 percent got their booster shot, Magpantay said.

To reach out to more vaccinees, the DOH has rolled out the Pinas Lakas campaign where free vaccination is now done in areas that the public frequents such as schools, parks, churches, malls, community centers, and transportation terminals, among other sites.

Pinas Lakas aims to increase the number of Filipinos who are given a booster shot, to help maintain the country’s immunity against the Covid-19.

DOH Usec. Lilybeth David said she hopes the program will increase primary and booster vaccine coverage in the country.

“The threat is still real. The variants are still here,” David said, stressing the need to get vaccinated to boost our immune system to fight the virus that causes the Covid-19.

“Our goal is still to protect the vulnerable sector. We hope to continue living our life that is free from worries (of getting infected) but we can only reach this goal through the united effort of every Filipino,” David said.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has assured it will back the DOH’s efforts by including in their road safety advocacy program the need for drivers, operators, and commuters to get vaccinated.

With people converging at terminals, LTFRB Legal Officer Jessie Balagot said the risk of infection is also high hence the need for those in the sector to get vaccinated to avoid paralyzing the transportation sector. – Rimaliza A. Opiña