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A low vax rate makes a NegOcc alert level drop ‘unlikely.’

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines โ€“ Due to a lower coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination coverage rate than neighboring provinces in Western Visayas, the province of Negros Occidental is anticipated to stay under Alert Level 2 after March 31.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said on Monday that he thinks this is “excellent” because it will limit gatherings to 70 percent of the venue’s capacity.

He told reporters, “I think we’ll stay at Alert Level 2 because of the immunization rate.”

Because of the election season for municipal candidates, Lacson warned the province’s Covid-19 immunization campaign may take longer.

“This is especially true now that the local campaign has begun. “It was slow before, and it will be slower now,” he said.

Negros Occidental had fully vaccinated 904,733 individuals in the 18 to 59 age range, or 63.28 percent of the 1.429 million target vaccinees, according to data from the Department of Health-Western Visayas (DOH-6) as of March 28.

Meanwhile, 72.62 percent of Negrenses (1.038 million) have already received the first dose.

130,662 senior folks, or those aged 60 and up, have been fully vaccinated, accounting for 48.46% of the target 269,602 vaccinees, while 135,514 elderly people, or 50.26 percent, have received the first dosage.

In terms of percentage, Negros Occidental has the lowest vaccination coverage rates in both age groups in Western Visayas.

The low vaccine coverage rate among the Negrense elderly, according to Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II, is the reason why Negros Occidental remains at Alert Level 2 and cannot be de-escalated to Alert Level 1.

A delegation from the World Health Organization visited the province in the first week of March to explore the technical assistance it can provide in speeding up the Covid-19 vaccine for Priority Group A2 or senior citizens.

As part of a strategy to boost the Covid-19 immunization program, the aid will directly assist the province in re-engineering initiatives for the older population.

The provinces of Negros Occidental, Iloilo, and Antique in Region 6 were placed on Warning Level 2 from March 16 to 31, while Aklan, Capiz, Guimaras, and the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo were placed on Alert Level 1, the lowest category in the country’s Covid-19 alert level system.

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