Thursday, December 09, 2021

Espinoza: The vaccination lags?

Free Zone

It’s disheartening to know that there are two million of unspent Covid-19 vaccines in Central Visayas when there are many people (I know of some here in Cebu) who have not been vaccinated because there is not enough vaccine when they go to the vaccination centers.

We know there are people who are more scared of the tiny needle of the syringe than being hospitalized if infected with this coronavirus. Others are just choosy. The current batch of vaccinees are even lucky because the vaccines that arrived recently are made by Pfizer and Moderna.

So, where does the problem lie? Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said the rate of vaccination in the region and Metro Cebu is “disappointing.” She said Region 7 received 5,249,630 Covid-19 doses as of Oct. 15, 2021. It means about 3 million of the vaccines were administered in the entire region.

Have the Department of Health and the local government units (LGUs) slowed down their efforts in encouraging the people, especially those doubters, to get the shot? Or, was it because the local officials were busy in the fast few weeks when the candidates filed their certificates of candidacy?

Last week I took a taxi going to a car shop. I asked the driver about his vaccination status and his straightforward answer was that he is not vaccinated. He said he had already registered but he has yet to receive a text or call from the vax center for his appointment. I advised him not to wait for the call or text, but to go straight to the nearest vaccination center from where he lives in Cebu City. He promised to do it and I could only wish he got the shot.

Is the online registration the culprit? Those manning the online registration in the vax center are either tired or just bored that they fail to do their job accordingly. Or, there are not enough incentives for those who work, like the health aides, nurses and doctors, at the vax centers that they tend to relax. I also learned that the LGUs’ vax centers only allocate 100 doses a day. This would take months to fully vaccinate a population of one million in a town.

On the other hand, the earnest efforts of the private firms’ management to mandate vaccination for its employees and workers is being brick walled by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), allegedly because it’s against the human rights of the workers. Don’t forget that the vaccinated workers also have the right to be protected from being infected by the unvaccinated workers.

The posture of DOLE and labor leaders has stymied the efforts of the Department of Health to vaccinate more people to attain herd immunity. The DOLE and the labor groups should have cooperated in the vaccination efforts of the government instead of being an obstruction.

Now that the alert level was lowered to modified general community quarantine in some parts of the country, the tendency is that more people would loosen their guard against this virus. The usual terrible traffic is now evident on the streets. This goes to show that people of all ages are now free to move around.

I’ve said this many times that every time the alert level against this deadly virus is lowered, we must continue the discipline that we have practiced, and to always properly wear the face mask whenever in public or crowded places, so we would not repeat the same contagion after the holidays. And there should be no letup in the enforcement of the health protocols.


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