GENERAL SANTOS CITY—Health authorities in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) urged local government units (LGUs) to further accelerate the vaccination against Covid-19 for their vulnerable elderly population.

Dr. Edvir Jane Montañer, Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 immunization manager, said the region needs to increase the vaccination coverage among senior citizens or priority group A2, which remained way below their target as of last week.

She said out of the 314,465 eligible A2 population, only 128,153 or 40.75 percent are so far fully vaccinated.

Montañer said the National Vaccine Operations Center (NVOC) has made the A2 inoculation accomplishment as a requirement for the expansion of the Covid-19 mass vaccination to the pediatric group or those aged 12 to 17 years old.

“We cannot expand to our pediatric group if we will not reach at least 50 percent of our target for the A2 population,” she said in a report.

She appealed to concerned stakeholders to help campaign for the vaccination of the remaining unvaccinated senior citizens, who are considered the most vulnerable to severe Covid-19 infection.

As of October 19, she said a total of 1,287,506 residents in Soccsksargen and Cotabato City have received at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, and Kidapawan.

DOH-12 manages the vaccination activities in Cotabato City, which is under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The agency has targeted to vaccinate a combined 3,523,867 residents, which represents 70 percent of the area’s adult population or those aged 18 years old and above, until the end of the year to achieve population protection.

Montañer assured citizens that the region has enough vaccine supplies to cope with the mass vaccination activities.

As of October 18, she said NVOC delivered a total of 2,043,657 vaccine doses in Soccsksargen and in Cotabato City.

This is composed of the Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Janssen, Moderna  and Pfizer brands.

Montañer some 264,903 vaccine doses are currently on standby in local health offices and 509,290 doses at the regional vaccine hub in Cotabato City.

“We don’t have any problem with the vaccines right now, the challenge is how to give them to our residents, especially the unvaccinated senior citizens,” she said. PNA

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