A TOTAL of 40,267 individuals have been vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Cebu City since the vaccine rollout began on March 24, 2021 with 9,768 individuals having received the second dose.
According to the May 28 data of the Vaccine Advisory Board, 6,375 are medical workers and health facility staff; 18,330 are senior citizens; and 12,243 are persons with comorbidities.
There were 3,319 others who had been vaccinated and belong to the first three priority groups, but did not indicate during the registration what sector they belong to. Some of them were “walk-ins.”
Cerwin Eviota of the Cebu Citizens Initiative, the cluster in charge of the vaccine information and education campaign, said this is the reason the City discourages the practice.
The City has been urging those who are waiting to receive their Covid-19 shot to go only to the vaccination site during their schedule and after they receive a text message through the CebuCityVax.
The City was forced to stop the vaccination twice due to the lack of vaccines.
Recently, city officials noted that more people are willing to be vaccinated based on the number who registered online and the long lines at vaccination sites.
Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, City Health Department officer-in-charge, said they have been giving the Department of Health (DOH) 7 a daily update on the doses they have available.
He said the 12,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine may be used by next week, although they are also expecting a new delivery.
“We don’t know yet... but next week, hopefully, there will be vaccines delivered (to the city),” said Ibones on Friday, May 28.
The City is still accommodating health care workers, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities or those who belong to categories A1, A2 and A3.
Essential and the economic workers, or those belonging to category A4, are urged to register now at pabakunata.com, or register in their respective barangays.
Ibones earlier said the City will also accommodate workers who are not residents of the city but are working in the city.
The City expects to start vaccinating them in June.
In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes eyes to set up vaccination sites in malls as the City prepares for mass vaccination that will also accommodate walk-ins.
The vaccination sites at the Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex, the University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu Mandaue campus and Chong Hua Hospital Mandaue currently only vaccinate those who registered.
He said the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry has suggested the JCenter Mall.
August Lizer Malate, head of the City’s Emergency Operations Center, inspected the site last week, Cortes said.
Cortes said having a vaccination site inside a mall will promote economic activity, especially since an average of 300 people are expected to be vaccinated daily.
Not only will it help establishments in the mall, but it will also help the city’s economy, he said, adding that residents should support and patronize local businesses.
Despite the growing number of individuals willing to be vaccinated, the DOH acknowledged that offering incentives to convince those eligible to receive the vaccine might overcome hesitancy.
In a virtual press briefing on Friday, May 28, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they see no problem in local government units (LGUs) providing incentives.
“Basically, providing incentives is part of that strategic way of persuading people. It is part of the persuasion strategy, wherein you can give incentives to people to encourage them to comply,” said Vergeire.
“We know that there is hesitancy on the part of the public. We think that these incentives might be able to encourage more people to overcome their hesitation,” she added.
She said the DOH was also thinking of additional incentives to encourage people to get the vaccine.
“Our ultimate goal in government is to immunize the majority because we want the population to be protected against Covid-19,” she said.
Some LGUs are offering food and grocery items to those who receive the vaccine. In Las Piñas City, vaccine recipients get a chance to win a house and lot.
Vergeire said that while DOH aims to protect the vulnerable sectors first, the long-term goal is still achieving herd immunity in the country.
“Nothing has changed. Our overall goal remains to reach the 70 percent of our population or even higher so we can have herd immunity,” she said.
At present, the government is focusing on population segments that are at greater risk of transmission and those in densely populated areas.
“Population protection carries the strategy of giving specific focus on highly populous places, which we have already identified as the NCR (National Capital Region) Plus 8 areas,” Vergeire said. (JJL, KFD, HDT / SunStar Philippines)