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Seniors in NegOcc had a high level of vaccine apprehension.

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Vaccination teams in Negros Occidental are working to reach out to more senior persons so that they can be protected against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), which has a coverage rate of less than 50% among the province’s aged population.

Only 134,218 Negrenses in the 60 and over age category had been fully vaccinated out of 269,602 target individuals, according to data from the Department of Health-Western Visayas (DOH-6) as of Thursday.

Although the vaccination coverage rate in Negros Occidental has already reached 71% of the target population, the number of vaccinees among older citizens is still low, according to Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer.

“The main cause is still apprehension. In terms of advocacy, we are lacking. We won’t be able to persuade the elderly to understand (the need for vaccination). He told reporters, “They say they don’t go out, and their children believe the elders basically stay at home.”

Tumimbang explained that because older individuals find it difficult to travel to vaccination sites, they resorted to house-to-house campaigns and pre-advocacy among the target senior residents.

He went on to say that even though the elderly were already scheduled for immunization at home, they refused to have the Covid-19 vaccinations.

Health insurance incentives are also being offered to the elderly who will get vaccinated, according to him, but the numbers appear to be moving slowly.

“I’m not sure what’s going on. That is the truth. We will never be able to force people to get vaccines, but we are doing everything we can. Many factors have a role in an individual’s refusal to be vaccinated. “There are also anti-vaccination organizations,” Tumimbang remarked.

Local government units (LGUs) should also perform effective lobbying on the necessity of immunization in their particular areas, according to him.

The low vaccine coverage rate among the Negrense elderly, according to Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II, is the reason why the entire Negros Occidental cannot yet be de-escalated to Alert Level 1, the lowest category in the country’s Covid-19 alert level system.

“There is a vulnerable group, which is older persons, who are not protected by the Department of Health.” “(The province) will have to remain in Alert Level 2 unless the number of unvaccinated elders decreases,” he warned.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has placed six LGUs in Negros Occidental on Alert Level 1 until April 30, while the remainder of the province is currently on Alert Level 2.

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