DOH-Bicol pushes LGUs to speed up vax roll out

LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol has raised concern over the sluggish Covid-19 vaccination coverage of medical front-liners in the region’s various local government units (LGUs).

Dr. Rita Mae Ang-Bon, DOH Covid-19 program coordinator, has urged Bicol LGUs in a media briefing to speed up their inoculation program.

“Bicol is second from the bottom as compared to other regions in the country. Many regions have already attained 85-95% of their vaccination coverage target,” she pointed out.

Ang-Bon said Bicol has only attained a 62 percent vaccine coverage for the A1 priority group that includes frontline workers in public and private hospitals, infirmaries, quarantine and isolation facilities, rural health units and offices, stand-alone facilities, clinics, and diagnostic centers, dental clinics, dialysis centers, and Covid-19 testing laboratories.

She, however, dismissed reports that the National Vaccine Operation Center (NVOC) has warned it would suspend additional vaccine rollout to regions that fail to meet their target coverage.

She said what the NVOC wanted was for the regions to focus on increasing the vaccination coverage for the A1 group. “The challenge for the LGUs is to utilize the remaining vaccines for A1 in order to increase coverage to at least 85 percent,” she stressed.

Citing DOH data, Ang-Bon said currently, 113,931 persons have been inoculated with either first or second doses of vaccines in Bicol, which is only 2.6 percent of the 3.6 million 18 years old and above target population.

Regarding vaccine deployment and utilization, Albay ranks first with 14,614 jabs or 89% of coverage rate; followed by Camarines Norte with 6,430 doses, 85%. Lagging behind are Catanduanes with 5,687 doses (62%), Sorsogon with 11,616 jabs (61%), Camarines Sur, 27,687 jabs (56%), and Masbate, 16,344 doses (40%). (PNA)