Gov't to change strategies to ramp up COVID-19 booster administration, elderly vaccination

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Gov't to change strategies to ramp up COVID-19 booster administration, elderly vaccination
A medical worker prepares the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 at a gym in San Juan City, suburban Manila on February 7, 2022.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The government will implement adjustments in its vaccination program against COVID-19 to accelerate the administration of booster shots and the inoculation of senior citizens, a Department of Health official said Monday.

DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, who heads the National Vaccination Operations Center, said some 3.44 million individuals were immunized during the third round of the national vaccination days, failing to meet the target of inoculating five million people.

“We will change strategies. We will improve some of our advocacies because some people are difficult to convince to get vaccinated even if there’s a decline in vaccine hesitancy,” Cabotaje told state broadcaster People’s Television in Filipino.

She said that around three million people were due to receive boosters during the government’s massive vaccination activity this month, but some individuals do not realize the “urgency” to get an additional layer of protection against the virus.

To address this, the government will bring inoculation sites closer to people and adjust the vaccination drive “by area and by sector” to accommodate workers, the health official said.

Senior citizens

Cabotaje reported that 2.4 million senior citizens remain unvaccinated against the respiratory illness.

“It’s not because of vaccine hesitancy. Some refuse to get vaccinated because they say they will die anyway. They do not understand that if they get sick, their family members will also be affected,” she said.

Making the vaccination process simpler could encourage old people to get inoculated, she said.

Cabotaje also said that authorities are studying ways to increase immunization coverage among Muslims.

“We’ve been talking with the imams, minister of health, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao officials, local chief executives. We help one another. Let’s find ways to ramp up vaccination in Muslim areas,” she said.

Since March 2021, over 62 million Filipinos have completed vaccination against COVID-19.

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 7, 2023 - 2:21pm

A new thread on the Philippines' vaccination program in 2021 in the government's revised objective to reach "population protection." Bookmark our COVID-19 and Vaccination Dashboard for the latest figures on the pandemic in the Philippines. — Main image: The STAR/Michael Varcas, file

August 7, 2023 - 2:21pm

The city government of Valenzuela City announces that it is temporarily suspending the use of Pfizer bivalent COVID-19 vaccines as they wait for more vaccine supplies.

July 25, 2023 - 12:40pm

Pasig City government announces the schedule of COVID-19 vaccination in the city from July 15 until July 28.

It advises residents that first, second dose and first and 2nd booster shots are available on a first come, first serve basis in its designated vaccination sites. 

Among the available vaccine brands is Sinovac for 6 years old and above. It adds that there are no Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines yet for residents age 12 and above.

June 21, 2023 - 8:56am

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to lead the rollout of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccination at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City. — The STAR/Helen Flores

June 20, 2023 - 12:35pm

The Department of Health reminds public that they can still avail of the COVID-19 booster and bivalent booster. It reposted an infographic that determines when it is best to get the first two boosters and the bivalent booster.

May 18, 2022 - 3:39pm

Senior citizens and frontline health workers may now get their second booster shots, particularly mRNA jabs such as Moderna and Pfizer, the Department of Health announces. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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