Red Cross calls for COVID-19 vaccination ramp-up

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Red Cross calls for COVID-19 vaccination ramp-up
Fewer people avail of the free vaccine booster offered by the local government of Manila for vendors, workers and other individuals during their night vaccination drive in Divisoria, Manila on Friday (October 1, 2022).
STAR / Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Following the recorded increase in positivity rate of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila in the past week, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has called for the ramping up of vaccination efforts in the country.

In a statement yesterday, PRC chairman Richard Gordon called for more intensified vaccination efforts, especially boosters for high-risk populations.

“We at the PRC are also one with the government in the call to ramp up vaccination efforts, especially boosters for high-risk populations like A1 – health care workers, A2 – senior citizens and A3 – those with comorbidities,” Gordon said.

The former senator also asked the public to continue to be vigilant against the virus and practice minimum health protocols.

The positivity rate in Metro Manila had risen to 18.9 percent as of Sept. 28, compared with just 17.5 percent the week before.

The average daily attack rate had also risen to 7.42 percent per 100,000 population as of Sept. 29, compared to just 1.10 percent three days before.

“This is considered moderate risk for a surge in new cases of COVID-19 in the metro. We are seeing that the main cause of this rise is the increased mobility of people due to the opening of classes and less restrictive policies in the use of public vehicles,” the PRC statement read.

“The good news is that health care utilization rate still remains low at 35 percent as of Sept. 28, down from 38 percent on Sept. 21, according to the OCTA Research Group,” it added.

Meanwhile, over 6,000 personnel of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will get their booster shots as part of the national government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.

In a statement yesterday, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said all of the department’s 6,140 employees would receive their booster shots to improve their immunity against COVID-19: 1,026 personnel from the DILG central office and 5,114 from regional offices.

“These booster vaccination drives we organized within the department is our small way of showing the DILG’s full support for the government’s Bakunahang Bayan: PinasLakas Special Vaccination Days campaign,” Abalos added.

Government workers should be protected from the virus for them to carry out their public service duties, according to the DILG chief.

He also urged local government units (LGUs) to intensify their booster vaccination drive to achieve the national government’s goal of giving the primary series vaccines to 90 percent of the senior citizen population and first-booster shots to 50 percent of the general population within the first 100 days of the Marcos administration.

Abalos said he has issued a memorandum urging all local chief executives to mobilize their resources to achieve their vaccination targets.

Under the memorandum, the DILG orders LGUs to set up vaccination sites at malls, plazas, markets, places of worship, basketball courts and other covered courts.

LGUs are also ordered to intensify the vaccination drive for senior citizens, indigenous peoples and other unvaccinated sectors by mobilizing the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs and barangay officials and coordinating with provincial offices and community service centers of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Top-performing LGUs will be awarded on Oct. 9, according to Abalos.

16,000 cases

More than 16,000 COVID-19 cases were recorded in the past week, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

From Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, the DOH recorded a daily average of 2,288 cases or a total of 16,017 cases nationwide.

Of the figure, 753 were severe and critical cases admitted in hospitals.

Currently, 611 or 24.3 percent of the COVID-intensive care unit beds are occupied.

Compared with the previous week’s figure, the newly recorded cases were 10 percent lower. Of the new cases, four are severe and critical.

The DOH also reported that 228 of the new cases succumbed to the illness, 35 of which occurred last month.

Over 73 million individuals or 93.7 percent of the target population had been vaccinated against the infection while 19 million had received their booster shots.

A total of 6.8 million senior citizens or 78.51 percent of the target A2 population have received their primary series. – Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Mayen Jaymalin


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