DOJ wants inmates included in National Vaccination Days

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
DOJ wants inmates included in National Vaccination Days
This photo posted on October 25 showed the Bureau of Corrections vaccination drive for inmates at the Minimum Security Compound of the New Bilibid Prison.
Bureau of Corrections / Facebook page released

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice will ask the National Task Force against COVID-19 to include Persons Deprived of Liberty in the massive three-day vaccination drive in the country.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Monday they will ask the task force, led by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to cover inmates across the country in the "Bayanihan Bakunahan" program set on November 29 to December 1.

"I understand that we have millions of doses available for this big event, so this is the opportune time to consider the health of our PDLs who are at risk of infection due to prison overcrowding,” he added.

During the three-day national government program, the Departments of Health and the Interior and Local Government aim to vaccinate 15 million Filipinos in 16 regions outside Metro Manila.

As of November 21, government data shows that the country has so far administered 75.6 million doses. Some 33.579 million Filipinos have completed their doses against COVID-19 while 41.993 million others are waiting for their second jabs.

Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles, in a statement earlier Monday, said the project "seeks to significantly add to this figured, as we have all seen evidence of how increased vaccination rates have contributed to the reduction of active COVID-19 cases and the drop in the daily new COVID-19 cases."

As the government ramps up inoculation of Filipinos across the country, vaccination rates inside overcrowded prison facilities under the Bureau of Corrections remain low.

As of November 9, BuCor said that 4,173 inmates or 9.68% of the total population in facilities under its management are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 13,122 PDLs or 26.95% of the total inmates have received their first dose.

It added that nearly 11,000 of the 28,516 Persons Deprived of Liberty or 38.53% of the total inmate population at the New Bilibid Prison are partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

At the Bilibid, the country’s national penitentiary, 10,987 inmates received one jab while ten have completed their doses against the coronavirus.

Other prison facilities only count for partially vaccinated inmates, while inoculation has yet to start at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan.

BuCor previously said they are dependent on local government units where their facilities are for the allocation of vaccines.

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