Omicron threat spikes vax rate

·3 min read

The number of people showing up for vaccination in Cebu City has reportedly skyrocketed due to the threat posed by the Covid-19 Omicron variant entering the Philippines.

This as Jeffrey Ibones, head of the Cebu City Health Department (CCHD), noted that the CCHD vaccinated at least 25,000 individuals on Jan. 4-5, 2022.

Ibones said most of those who showed up to be inoculated wanted their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while there were those who went for their first dose.

He said booster shots were still limited.

“A lot of people are showing up for their first dose vaccination. We now reach around 500. It’s unlike the time after the storm (Typhoon Odette) when there were only two, three, four, very little who came. It’s probably because of the Omicron surge,” Ibones said in Cebuano.

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2022, the City Government opened 15 vaccination sites, including those in malls and barangay sports centers so that many more can be vaccinated.

The regular vaccination sites for the first and second dose are in Cebu City Hall, Robinsons Galleria Cebu, SM City Cebu, SM Seaside City, Ayala Center Cebu, Iconique mall, UC Banilad and Robinsons Cybergate Cebu, which also accepts minors due for the second dose of their Covid-19 vaccine.

The City also opened pop-up vaccination sites for the second dose in Kalunasan Elementary School, Lahug Elementary School, Talamban Elementary gym, Pasil gym, Ermita gym, Shopwise in Basak San Nicolas, 360 Pharmacy in Kinasang-an, and ACE Medical Center in Basak Pardo.

Ramping up vax

Meanwhile, Malacańang urged regions and provinces in the country on Wednesday, Jan. 5, to ramp the Covid-19 vaccination in their respective areas amid the threat posed by the Omicron variant.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said there is a need to step up vaccination in areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR) to cushion the impact of Omicron and other variants to the country’s healthcare capacity.

“Let’s take advantage of increasing the vaccination in the regional areas. While we’re seeing a surge here in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, we have to push for more vaccinations happening in the other regions outside of Metro Manila and Calabarzon,” he said.

Nograles said while Omicron is already spreading in the NCR and nearby provinces, hospital care utilization is not increasing as steeply as the cases are rising.

Majority of Metro Manila residents have already been fully vaccinated while others have received their boosters, he noted.

As of Jan. 5, the intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization in Metro Manila was already at 35 percent and 26 percent nationwide.

For isolation beds, there has been a 32 percent utilization rate in Metro Manila and 27 percent utilization nationwide. Ward beds utilization in Metro Manila was at 36 percent and 19 percent nationwide.

He appealed to the public to avoid getting infected so as not to overwhelm the healthcare capacities, including the health workers.

Nograles stressed that vaccines are safe and free.

“The numbers clearly show how these can prevent serious cases of Covid. Eighty-five percent of Covid patients in our ICUs are unvaccinated,” he said.

Data from the National Covid-19 Vaccination Dashboard showed that as of January 4, more than 110 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have already been administered nationwide.

Of the target population for vaccination, 79.42 percent or 61,260,924 have already received their first dose, while 65.63 have been fully vaccinated. (LMY, PR)

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