Oliver Bugarin 8 0 0 4 min to read

Executives of Eastern Visayas will make vaccination more appealing to the public.

As part of the nationwide PinasLakas campaign, local governments in Eastern Visayas will provide incentives to encourage more residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

During Thursday’s regional launch, Governor of Biliran Gerard Espina stated that after achieving a 94 percent vaccination rate for the first and second doses for senior citizens, the focus would shift to encouraging the general population to receive booster shots.

“As in the past, we are considering holding raffles or providing free rides to those who receive booster shots. We will repeat our past efforts to make vaccinations more appealing to the public. We must also raise public awareness about the significance of booster doses, Espina told reporters.

The province only reported 15% coverage for booster doses. Of the 63,701 individuals targeted for booster shots, only 19,504 have been immunized.

The Department of Health has recognized Biliran as the top performer among six provinces and two independent cities in the Eastern Visayas region for the administration of the primary series.

In Calbayog City, Samar, where only 64 percent of residents were immunized, Mayor Raymund Uy stated that they would require village officials to locate and convince the unvaccinated.

Only 6,991 of the 137,901 target population received the first booster dose, and 521 received the second booster dose.

“The campaign goal for PinasLakas is 90 percent. That would be very difficult for us to achieve. Our more attainable objective is 70%,” Uy explained.

“We will not provide assistance to villages, and their officials will not be permitted to travel outside of the region to attend official events if their community fails to reach the minimum coverage target of 70 percent,” he added.

Rodolfo Antonio Albornoz, assistant regional director for the Department of Health in the Eastern Visayas, emphasized the importance of administering booster shots due to the recent trend of rising cases.

“In the region, only 20% of seniors are fully immunized, while 40% of the general population needs booster shots,” Albornoz said.

The official urged local governments to assist in establishing vaccination sites in schools, tourist destinations, churches, public markets, transportation hubs, and other public spaces.

The new PinasLakas campaign aims to achieve 90 percent coverage for the primary series of senior citizens and 50 percent coverage for the first booster of the general population within the first 100 days of the president’s administration, or by October 8, 2022.

As of August 15, approximately 65% of the region’s senior citizens had received their initial vaccinations, while only 13% of the general population had received booster shots.

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