ONLY around 11 percent of the total population of senior citizens in Cebu City have registered for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program so far.
Cebu City Health Department (CHD) officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said that as of April 4, 2021, only around 9,000 senior citizens have registered to receive the Covid-19 vaccines.
Cebu City has more than 82,000 senior citizens.
“Kahibaw ko nga gamay pa gyud na, kuwang pa gyud na (I know that that’s still too few),” Ibones told SunStar Cebu in an interview on April 4.
Senior citizens or those aged 60 years old and above belong to the Priority Code A2 which is next to the frontline workers in health facilities for vaccination.
Ibones said the number of registrants is still too low. That is why they are conducting a house-to-house campaign to educate the senior citizens.
He added that personnel of other departments in Cebu City Hall have been deployed to help in the house-to-house information drive so that more senior citizens will have themselves vaccinated.
The Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche previously said areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR) have until April 5 to submit the masterlist of the senior citizens.
Ibones said they will submit the number of those who registered, as well as the total number of senior citizens in the city, so that they will have an allocation in case some of the senior citizens change their mind and decide to be vaccinated.
Ibones said majority of the senior citizens have the “wait and see” attitude.
“Tan-awn pa nila if okay ba ang vaccine, wa ba’y side effects, labi na makit-an nila ilang kaila, mga parente (They will see first if the vaccine will have side effects on the people they know and their relatives),” said Ibones.
He said the Vaccine Advisory Board plans to have the inoculation of the senior citizens done at the hospitals.
He said some senior citizens have comorbidities so it would be better if the vaccination is done in the hospitals so they can be given immediate medical attention if they experience adverse effects after the inoculation.
So far, Ibones said, the vaccine to be used for senior citizens is AstraZeneca vaccine since it is the only available vaccine deemed fit for the senior citizens.
Aside from the senior citizens, the CHD also started the masterlisting for the indigent population. As of April 4, around 2,000 have agreed to be vaccinated.
The vaccination for the medical workers and barangay health workers (BHWs) based in Cebu City is still ongoing.
In more than a week of vaccination, a total of 3,620 medical frontliners have been inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Cebu City started its vaccination rollout for BHWs and nurses and doctors from private clinics last March 24.
The DOH 7 has augmented Sinovac vaccines for Cebu City after the second batch of AstraZeneca vaccines were all used last March 30.
The DOH 7 allocated 1,600 doses of AstraZeneca for the first batch and 1,800 for the second batch.
Ibones said 105 doses of Sinovac vaccines were added for Cebu City. These will be used when vaccination resumes on April 5.
He said they will use the vaccination site at Robinsons Galleria since there are only few doses to be given out.
Ibones said the DOH 7 told him another batch of vaccines may be sent to Central Visayas this week.
There are still more than 2,000 medical workers waiting for their turn to receive the vaccine as there are more than 5,000 registrants for the vaccination program, Ibones added.