MORE than four million people in Central Visayas had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as of Sunday, June 5, 2022.

Officials of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) said they still need to fully vaccinate around 1,862,125 people in the region. The region’s target population for vaccination is 6,572,250.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH 7 director, told reporters on Tuesday, June 7, that despite vaccinating more than 70 percent of their target, their job of vaccinating all eligible citizens in the region is far from over.

Bernadas said they will pursue the people who have yet to be vaccinated and those who have yet to receive their boosters.

Due to the emergence of more infectious variants of Covid-19, Bernadas said they raised the vaccination coverage to 85 percent.

Of the region’s four provinces, Siquijor has the highest vaccine coverage at 91.52 percent. It is followed by Bohol Province with 71.55 percent; Cebu Province, 65.44 percent; and Negros Oriental, 57.15 percent.

Low vax rate

On other hand, Dr. Van Phillip B. Baton, who heads DOH 7’s Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Disease program, admitted that there are still some areas that still have low vaccination rates ever since the beginning of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign last year.

Baton said they already identified and targeted three localities in Negros Oriental with low vaccination coverage. These are Guihulngan, Siaton and Santa Catalina.

Baton said one of the possible reasons for low vaccination coverage is the distance between the vaccination sites and the barangays were low vax rates were noted.

“In summary, we need to pay close attention to the two provinces of Negros Oriental and Cebu, particularly more on Negros Oriental. We will need to improve the number,” Baton said.

Bernadas said they will continue to strengthen the surveillance and monitoring system in the barangay and municipal level in responding not only to Covid-19 virus but also to other diseases.

With this, he urged the local government units to be consistent in their strategies in giving incentives, especially to the senior citizens and those who are yet to receive the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.