Palace to rely on house-to-house vaccination of elderly, people with comorbidities

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace to rely on house-to-house vaccination of elderly, people with comorbidities
A centenarian, Juliana Dumo, 101, a resident of Barangay Bonfal West, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, receives her first dose of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Jerraliza Tannagan, chief of the town’s Municipal Health Office on June 8, 2021.
The STAR / Victor Martin

MANILA, Philippines — The government is counting on house-to-house campaigns to vaccinate senior citizens and other persons vulnerable to COVID-19 especially those who are living outside the National Capital Region Plus.

Acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said local governments can conduct house visits and administer shots to senior citizens and persons with comorbidities who are having difficulties going to vaccination sites.

"One of the effective measures being implemented by LGUs (local government units) is the house-to-house campaign, the house-to-house vaccination, because we target the senior citizens and the vulnerable, especially those in areas outside of NCR Plus,” Nograles told radio station dzBB Saturday.

NCR Plus is composed of Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna.

"It's just  really a matter of cooperating with the LGUs and the general public," Nograles said.

"If they cannot travel or go to vaccination sites, we will just reach out to them," he added.

About 54.46 million Filipinos or 70% of the target population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of January 13. The Duterte administration is ramping up its inoculation campaign to achieve its goal of fully vaccinating 90 million people by the end of June.

To encourage Filipinos to get vaccinated, the government relaxed the procedures for the availing of vaccines by doing away with the requirement to pre-register before going to vaccination sites and to present medical clearance except for those suffering from serious illnesses, those who underwent transplants or steroid treatments, and bedridden patients.

Nograles also defended the government's decision to prohibit unvaccinated persons from using public transportation in Metro Manila, a policy that some sectors claim constitutes discrimination.

"It is for the protection of the unvaccinated. You can see that 85 percent of those who are in the ICU (intensive care unit) are unvaccinated and 73 percent of those who are in the hospital are unvaccinated. The data is clear. If you are unvaccinated, you have bigger chances of being hospitalized," Nograles said.

"It is for the protection of those in the transport sector," he added.

The Commission on Human Rights has expressed concern over the policy, saying it "effectively restricts the exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights."

President Duterte has also ordered barangay officials to limit the movement of unvaccinated persons and to arrest those who will refuse to cooperate.

"So in the absence of a law, the President is called upon to act and because it is a national emergency, it is my position that we can restrain...I’m now giving orders to the barangay captains to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just would request them or order them, if you may, to stay put," the President said in a recent public address.


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