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Bacolod ‘most prepared’ for Covid vaccine rollout

The highly urbanized city of Bacolod got the highest score among provincial and city governments in Western Visayas that have already submitted their coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination plan to the regional office of the Department of Health.

The provinces of Iloilo and Capiz and Iloilo City have also submitted the hard copy of their vaccination plans, Dr. Mary Jane Roches Juanico, head of the DOH-Western Visayas infectious disease cluster, said on Wednesday afternoon.

“We have ongoing review and readiness assessment. As of Feb. 23, among areas in Region 6 with the highest readiness is Bacolod City at 75.9 percent, Capiz – 53.4 percent, and Iloilo province at 43 percent,” she said in a virtual presser.

Their readiness is rated based on thematic areas to include planning, budgeting, prioritization and targeting, system capacity for handling cold chain, logistics and ancillary supplies for covid-19, service delivery capacity, surveillance response, and demand generation activity, she said.

Juanico added that local governments “struggle” in terms of demand generation and prioritization, and targeting.

Currently ongoing is the master listing and conduct of activities to increase demand generation.

CURRENT FOCUS

“We acknowledge that in the recent surveys conducted by various partners, we have high vaccine hesitancy, not only from the general public but as well from our eligible priority population. In this part, our current focus is our health care workers who are our eligible priority population for the Covid-19 vaccination,” she said.

Juanico said it is important for health care workers to understand the need and benefits of being immunized.

Among the strategies they will employ are the conduct of series of town hall meetings with health care facilities and partners as well as consult various groups.

They will also gather testimonials of Ilonggo health workers in foreign countries who have already availed of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“We have started coordinating with groups, especially those residing in the US and Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, Ilonggo nurses and physicians working abroad to testify as regard to effects of the vaccination,” she said.

Meanwhile, health education and promotion officer Darlene de la Peña said they engaged the support of their counterparts at the city and municipal levels, information officers, disaster risk reduction and management officers, and barangay representatives for the demand generation campaign.

“At this time, we have already initiated our social mobilization and demand generation activities to let the people understand the benefit of this Covid-19 vaccination program,” she said.

She also said the demand generation drive aims for the general public to “understand and feel confident in the government’s approach to roll-out our Covid-19 vaccines in the country” as well as for Filipinos to “rely on government platforms as the authoritative source of information for Covid-19 vaccines”. Juanico said that, as of now, they do not have information as to when the vaccine will be downloaded to the regional offices.*PNA

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