THE Department of Health (DOH) intends to increase Covid-19 vaccination coverage for the pediatric population and those due for booster doses, said officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

During the launch of the Davao City leg of the Bakunahang Bayan on December 5, Vergeire said the goal is to achieve 50 percent for both booster dose coverage and for the five to 11 years old population.

“Sa ngayon sa buong bansa, ang ating booster shot rate ay nasa 26 percent (Nationwide, our booster shot rate is at 26 percent). Para sa mga kabataan, hanggang ngayon nasa 30 to 40 percent pa lang ang five to 11 years old (For five to 11 years old, we’re at 30 to 40 percent), we’d like to accomplish kahit hanggang mga (at least) 60 percent,” Vergeire said.

As of November 25, the DOH in Davao Region recorded 200,484 children belonging to the pediatric population are vaccinated against Covid-19 out of the 553,200 target. This is equivalent to 36.2 percent.

However, there are still 51,250 children due for the second primary dose.

For the 12 to 17 years old population, more than 100 percent or 462,804 out of the target 436,967, are fully vaccinated but only 5.4 percent or 23,701 have received their first booster dose.

Vergeire mentioned that the public’s hesitancy and complacency to get vaccinated is the biggest challenge to promoting the anti-Covid-19 vaccination, especially the booster dose. Parents are also hesitant to submit their children for vaccination.

“According to surveys, sinasabi ng mga tao hindi na nila kailangan dahil hindi naman kailangan sa trabaho, eskwelahan kaya pwede na lang wala (people are saying vaccination isn’t required at offices and schools so they do not feel obliged to get vaccinated). Pero gusto natin ipaalala na kahit hindi siya requirement, umuuwi tayo sa ating pamilya na hindi tayo protektado at magkakasakit rin ang ating mga mahal sa buhay (We want to remidn the public that you are not protected without the vaccination and you can endanger your loved ones because of it),” the OIC said.

In addition, those who have completed the two doses of booster shots among the adult population group remain very low at only 3.3 percent or 126,871. This is out of 3,337,270 fully vaccinated and 667,934 who have received their first booster dose.

Vergeire said the success of the mass vaccination also depends on the public’s willingness to get administered but she mentioned that the DOH is willing to extend the program until the goal is realized.

“Hindi naman sinasabing Dec 5 to 7, yun lang ang mga araw na ibibigay natin (We are not limiting giving the vaccines on December 5 to 7 only). Kung hindi pa natin marating ang ating mga targets within these threed ays, we can still extend (We can still extend if we have not yet reached out targets),” she said. ICM