Saturday, November 27, 2021

Cebu City targets 65K unvaxxed college students

LIMITED CAPACITY. Visitors at the cemeteries in Cebu City will have to follow the strict rules for this year’s Kalag-Kalag. Unlike Mandaue City, which will close all cemeteries for All Souls Day and All Saints’ Day, the Cebu City Government will keep cemeteries open but with a limited capacity. / Amper Campaña

SOME 65,000 college students enrolled in different colleges and universities in Cebu City are still unvaccinated against Covid-19, which officials said could delay the resumption of face-to-face classes.

The Cebu City Health Department (CHD) and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) 7 are already coordinating with each other for the planned Covid-19 vaccination program for college students living in Cebu City who are willing to get vaccinated but have not had access to vaccines yet.

Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, head of the CHD, said Ched 7 has coordinated with them after learning that there are still many college students who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 up to now.

He said there are about 100,000 college students enrolled in various universities and colleges in Cebu City but they could not determine yet if all of them are permanent residents of the city. Some of the students may be from other towns and cities but are renting or lodging in Cebu City and may have returned to their hometown with the suspension of face-to-face classes.

“That is why I asked the Ched to provide us with their masterlist of students so we can count how many remain unvaccinated, and we can cross-match their list with our list of vaccinated individuals in Cebu City to avoid duplication of names,” Ibones said.

He said the initial estimate of unvaccinated college students is 65,000. If the number is accurate, he said the City can finish their vaccination in less than 10 days. Cebu City has nine vaccination sites with a daily vaccination capacity of 1,500 to 2,000 individuals.

Ibones said they will verify with the Vaccine Information Management System if these college students are already registered for vaccination to ensure there will be no delays when the vaccination for this special group starts.

“Nangita g’yod mi ana nila kay laliman ka’g 65,000, kadaghan pa ana (We are looking for these individuals because 65,000 is a lot),” Ibones said.

He said it is important for college students, especially those with comorbidities, to avail themselves of the Covid-19 vaccines as it may be one of the considerations for the resumption of the face-to-face classes in higher education.

Some medical schools in Cebu, such as the Southwestern University-Phinma and University of Cebu, have already resumed their limited face-to-face classes.

Other schools have recently been allowed to hold face-to-face classes for some courses such as engineering and hotel management and tourism courses, but the Ched has yet to issue the guidelines for it.

When asked if there is enough supply of Covid-19 vaccines in the city for the college students, Ibones assured that there is.

He said that last Friday, Oct. 8, the City received 23,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines as the Department of Health (DOH) 7 allocates vaccine supply good for one week per local government unit.

As of Friday, Oct. 15, the City has a total of 3,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine that have yet to be used for this week, in addition to the 12,000 doses of Pfizer and less some 1,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines that the City has.

Ibones said, though, that even with enough vaccines, the number of individuals showing up to get the jab has decreased by almost 50 percent.

He said the reason for this is that the City already inoculated individuals with almost 700,000 doses and those who remain in the list are individuals who are still undecided and those who refused the vaccines.

“Mao nay atong gi-fight karon. Mao na atong paningkamutan nga ato silang ma convince (That is what we are working on... to convince them to get vaccinated). But in Cebu City, even if the number of people showing up at the vaccination centers decreased, we’re still able to vaccinate 2,500 to 4,000 people a day in nine sites,” Ibones said. (WBS)


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