Cabaero: Seniors delaying, avoiding vaccine

Nini Cabaero
·3 min read

ONLY 9,000 or 11 percent out of the 82,000 senior citizens in Cebu City have registered to get the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine.

It is a low number of seniors who registered, and it is worrisome. Seniors are vulnerable to severe illness if they get the virus. Plus, the government has a fund to cover medical expenses should they get an adverse reaction from the vaccine. Yet many have not registered. They are delaying getting the vaccine, taking a wait-and-see attitude, or skipping it entirely.

The Department of Health (DOH) lists senior citizens as among those vulnerable to having severe symptoms after being infected by the Sar-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19. A patient with severe illness may need hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe. Some of them die because of the virus or their underlying health conditions such as hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, or asthma that can make it harder for them to beat the Covid-19 virus. In the United States, eight of 10 Covid-19 deaths have been in older adults.

This is the reason Filipino senior citizens, along with the indigent population, are next in line for vaccination after health workers.

In Cebu City, the listing of senior citizens was until yesterday, Monday, April 5, 2021. As of Sunday, the Cebu City Health Department (CHD) said only 9,000 senior citizens have registered. CHD officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said this number is too low.

AstraZeneca is the vaccine to be used on Filipino senior citizens as it is the only one available that is deemed safe for them. There could be senior citizens not listing up for vaccination because of reports of blood clots on some of those vaccinated or they prefer other brands not yet available in the country. Others may have recently been infected and cannot be vaccinated until after 90 days. And there are those who simply do not want to be inoculated.

Ibones said the CHD will go on house-to-house visits to get more senior citizens registered. There is no date yet for the injections as the DOH awaits the arrival of vaccines.

Aside from house visits, the CHD could tap students to volunteer to register senior citizens and the indigent since registration is done online via https://mics.cebucity.gov.ph/vims (click on “Register” at the top left). Just give a phone number that they can call to give their details and the volunteer types in the information.

As to the fear of the after-effects, the government has an indemnification fund for all those who will experience adverse effects or events following immunization, or what they call the AEFI. In cases of severe AEFI, costs for hospitalization or management and treatment of the adverse events will be shouldered by the government through PhilHealth or the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

What is important is to increase the number of registered seniors for the vaccine so they can be inoculated soon.

I registered for the vaccine. How about you?