DOH: 4th national vaccination hits 97% of target

The Department of Health’s (DOH) fourth edition of its  national vaccination drive, Bayanihan Bakunahan, has reached 97% its target.

DOH Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said a total of 1,814,315 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered as of March 17.

“We were able to vaccinate indigenous peoples (IPs) and those living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. In total, 65 million or 72.28% of target population have been fully vaccinated while 70.2 million or 77.96% have received their first dose,” she said.

Fully vaccinated too against Covid-19 are 6.6 million of senior citizens. 1.9 million of whom have received their booster shots as of March 17. Likewise, about 1.4 million of the pediatric population have been inoculated while 9.7 million of the adolescent population were vaccinated.

The DOH encourages senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities to get their booster shots for continued protection against Covid-19. “Based on the study conducted by the) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, being boosted reduces the risk of hospitalization by 81%  based on their data during the peak of Omicron variant wave,” Vergeire said.

“A study from the John Hopkins University showed cases are translating into deaths at a much higher in Hong Kong than in New Zealand where the vaccination rate among senior citizens are higher;” she added.

Vaccine immunity wanes over time so the government emphasizes the importance of booster shots, Vergeire said. To date, about 11 million individuals already got their booster shots. Only adults aged 18 years old and above can receive booster shots.

Individuals inoculated with two-dose primary series of Covid-19 vaccine can get their booster shots three months after their second dose while those who received the single dose Janssen vaccine can get the booster shot after two months.