THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental may achieve herd immunity through its vaccination program against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) by February 2022, its top official said.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the Provincial Government aims to distribute 300,000 doses of vaccines to Negrenses a month.
As of Monday, October 18, Negros Occidental has reached about 15 percent of its target population for vaccination.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernel Tumimbang said the figure accounts for about 30,000 Negrenses who have already received Covid-19 jabs.
He said they are trying to reach near the targeted herd immunity by December this year, as the daily vaccination is now reaching its target of 8,000 individuals.
Meanwhile, the provincial health officer is also encouraging local government units (LGUs) in the province to prepare for the vaccination of minors, specifically those from 12 to 17 years old.
This way, he said, everything would be in place when the province is already given the allocation of vaccines for the minors.
Lacson, for his part, said the Inter-Agency Task Force is now considering the vaccination for 12 to 17 years old so it will go beyond 70 percent.
LGUs in the province were noted to have resorted to creative ways order to encourage residents to have themselves vaccinated.
In a related development, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II said Monday, October 18, that the number of active Covid-19 cases in Negros Occidental is starting to drop.
He said that based on the monitoring of the Provincial Incident Management Team (PIMT), Negros Occidental currently has 4,069 active cases after peaking close to around 4,500 last October 15.
In fact, the province logged 571 fresh recoveries for October 18 alone.
Diaz noted that though it was a slight decrease, he hopes that the numbers will continue to decline in the coming days.
Quarantine centers in the province are also starting to decongest.
The E.B. Magalona Provincial Healing Center only has 68 positive cases, Silay City Quarantine Center – 54, and Mambukal Quarantine Facility in Murcia town - 30.
Diaz said the patients at the Capitol's Mambukal facility are all employees of the Provincial Government and their families.
Despite the decline in Covid-19 cases, Diaz said hospitals in the province remain a concern as a lot of the patients are still being brought to these facilities for treatment.
Patients who are being hospitalized are suffering from moderate to severe Covid-19 cases and most of them are unvaccinated, he added.
As of October 16, data from the PIMT submitted to Diaz showed that hospital occupancy rate at the Cadiz City District Hospital was at 102 percent, with 95 patients currently being treated.
The Valladolid District Hospital, meanwhile, has an occupancy rate of 92 percent with 36 Covid-19 patients, while that in Valeriano Gatuslao District Hospital in Himamaylan City is at 66.67 percent with 34 patients.
"There are a lot of recoveries, but admissions at hospitals remain high," the provincial administrator said.
Negrenses should not let their guards down as there are more than 4,000 active cases in the province, Diaz stressed, adding that the number of samples being submitted to their laboratories daily are also dropping.