THE Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas admitted that it still has to encourage more senior citizens to get vaccinated as only 6.5 percent of the total registered senior citizens in the region have received their shots.
As of Monday, May 24, 2021, only 39,041 of the 604,444 total number of registered senior citizens in the region have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson.
Meanwhile, only 5,079 senior citizens have received their second dose.
As for medical frontliners or those belonging to the A1 priority sub-group, 96,140 out of 131,781 or 73 percent of the total A1 priority population, have received the first dose while 50,272 medical frontliners have gotten their second dose.
About 16,168 of 65,537 persons with comorbidities or those under the A3 priority sub-group have received their first dose while 1,509 have received their second dose.
Project Balik Buhay (PBB) also inoculated 488 medical frontliners, 1,955 senior citizens and 4,405 people with comorbidities in Cebu with the first dose.
It also vaccinated 186 medical frontliners, 939 senior citizens and 1,086 people with comorbidities with the second dose.
With this, there are now 56,860 individuals in Central Visayas classified as A1 (medical frontliners), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) who have been completely vaccinated, and a total of 161,292 individuals from the first three priority groups who have received the first dose.
Loreche also reported that the consumption rate of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is 21.9 percent, of which they have administered 3,207 doses to 274 medical frontliners, 981 senior citizens and 1,952 persons with comorbidities.
As for the adverse events following the immunization surveillance for the Sinovac vaccine, Loreche reported that from March 4 to May 23, there were 1,593 mild adverse events and three serious adverse events after the first dose, and 304 mild adverse events and one serious adverse event after the second dose.
For AstraZeneca, there are 1,553 mild adverse events after the first dose and 25 mild adverse events after the second dose.
For Pfizer, Loreche reported five adverse events, including headache, dizziness, tachycardia (excessively rapid heartbeat) and elevated blood pressure.
Meanwhile, the number of Filipinos who have completed the two-dose regimen for Covid-19 vaccines was expected to breach one million on Sunday, May 23, as inoculations accelerated in major urban centers nationwide.
The National Vaccine Operations Center reported that 949,939 individuals have received both the first and second doses as of Saturday, May 22, nearly three months since vaccinations started in the Philippines on March 1.
The total number of doses administered nationwide breached four million and the number of individuals who have received at least one dose surged past three million on Saturday.
Of the 4,097,425 doses administered since March 1, more than a fourth or 1,137,596 were administered in the past seven days to May 22.
The National Task Force Against Covid-19 reported that vaccinations went up by around 50 percent in just four days to an average of 162,513 on May 22 from 108,540 on May 18.
On May 21, the Philippines inoculated 237,984 individuals, the highest number of vaccine recipients since March 1. This is almost half of the 500,000 doses a day target that vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. is aiming for.
He said he expected the number of vaccinated individuals to double in June, when Priority Groups A4 (essential workers) and A5 (indigent) become eligible to receive the vaccine.
At present, the government is inoculating Priority Groups A1 (health workers, mayors, governors), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities).
Galvez, a retired military general who provided strategic direction in the fight against extremists during the Marawi siege, has likened major urban centers that are epidemic hotspots to what the military calls the centers of gravity.
By focusing on these urban centers first, Galvez said he aims to vaccinate 50 million to 70 million individuals and achieve herd immunity by the end of 2020.
Under this focus and expand strategy, which Galvez has presented to President Rodrigo Duterte, vaccination campaigns will focus on the National Capital Region, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal.
These areas have a combined population estimated at 83 million. To achieve herd immunity in these areas, the aim is to vaccinate 58.68 million individuals, or 70 percent of the population.
Vaccination campaigns will expand to other regions when herd immunity is achieved in the focus areas, Galvez said.
The Philippines has received a total of 8,279,05 doses as of May 20, consisting of 5.5 million doses of Sinovac (CoronaVac), 2.556 million doses of AstraZeneca, 193,050 doses of Pfizer and 30,000 doses of Sputnik V from Russia.
The AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines were donated through the Covax initiative while one million doses of the 5.5 million Sinovac doses were donated by China.
The rest was procured by the government. (KFD / MVI / SunStar Philippines)