MORE than 40,000 individuals in Metro Cebu received a vaccine shot against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Monday, Nov. 29, the first day of the three-day “Bayanihan, Bakunahan: National Covid-19 Vaccination Days.”

As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, Cebu City vaccinated 9,527 individuals; Lapu-Lapu City, 7,303 individuals; Mandaue City, 322; Talisay City, 900; Naga City, 631; Minglanilla, 3,066; Consolacion, 2,780; Liloan, 1,698; and Cordova, 1,588, according to reports received by the Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC).

However, the Cebu City Government reported that it had inoculated over 25,000 individuals on Monday.

Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, head of the Cebu City Health Department (CCHD), provided the figures pooled from Cebu City’s 90 vaccination sites.

Despite the big numbers, Councilor David Tumulak, tasked to monitor the massive vaccination drive in the city, saw the need to intensify the education campaign on the benefits of vaccination.

“There’s still a need to expand our information dissemination on the vaccination to reach the sitio level. We need to encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, especially with the lingering global threat posed by this Omicron variant because the vaccine can serve as our defense against this virus if we can reach herd immunity,” Tumulak said.

The CCHD’s Ibones expects more people to flock to the vaccination sites on the two remaining days of the vaccination drive, saying many more people were unaware that the Covid-19 vaccine had already been brought to their respective barangays to facilitate their inoculation.

The Cebu City Government aims to vaccinate 32,000 individuals per day, including minors aged 12-17 years old, or a total of 96,000 persons during the three-day drive.

In Lapu-Lapu City, City Legal Officer James Sayson said the city is confident to vaccinate more than 90 percent of its eligible population after it vaccinated nearly 12,000 individuals on the first day of the three-day vaccination drive.

He said they had expected only 9,700 to show up on the first day.

Sayson said eight new vaccination sites were opened across the city, bringing the total number of vaccination centers in the city to 17 during the three-day drive.

On Monday, Sayson said, all vaccination sites were full and some minor problems were observed such as a lack of chairs and understaffing due to some staff being absent.

With the three-day national vaccination drive, the VVOC projects that Metro Cebu will hit 300 percent of its weekly dose jabs.

“This week I am sure we will jump up to 300 percent. That’s our projection,” VVOC spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said during her press briefing Monday.

Loreche attributed the warm response to vaccination to government allowing not only pre-registered individuals but also walk-ins to get vaccinated.

However, she said they still received reports of persons backing out of their vaccination after hearing that the vaccination site did not have their preferred brand despite repeated advisories on the efficacy of all vaccines to prevent severe effects of Covid-19.

She also encouraged local government units (LGU) to make their vaccination sites more comfortable to vaccinees by providing shade from the heat.

Project Balik Buhay

Loreche reminded LGUs to still vaccinate individuals under the public-private sector initiative Project Balik Buhay (PBB), especially those seeking their booster dose for those in the A1 (frontline healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (adults with comorbidities) categories even if the persons didn’t receive their vaccine in that particular area. They can just bring their vaccination cards.

Metro Cebu administered only 80 percent or 117,896 doses of its weekly target of 148,000 first doses for the Nov. 22 to Nov. 28 vaccination period. However, it did better with its second dose jabs, administering 41,955 second dose jabs during the same period when its target was only 32,471 doses.

Meanwhile, on the request of the VVOC, the PBB Plus Vaccination Program will facilitate the booster dose for priority groups A1, A2 and A3 of the PBB-registered companies and organizations who were fully vaccinated under the PBB Vaccination Program with an existing PBB Registration Number following the recommended interval after the second dose.