By Claire Gigje
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–The hesitancy among residents remains the topmost factor why a low vaccination turnout persists in Lanao del Sur, the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) bared in a coordination meeting for the implementation of coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 vaccination in schools.
IPHO Chief Dr. Alinader Minalang underlined that the same reason is behind the current alert level status of the province which is now under Alert Level 2 despite the arduous effort to make vaccines available and accessible to the public and the utilization of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.
He added that the vaccine hesitancy also contributed even to the low vaccination turnout in the Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the region with the lowest vaccination rate in the whole Philippines.
IPHO Technical Services Chief Dr. Apasrah Macumbal-Mapupuno tackled that some of the top drivers of vaccine hesitancy are the concerns of the people with the side effects, their employment of the wait-and-see effect, and their belief that they do not need vaccines.
Recognizing this struggle, Minalang stressed that together with their partners, they have been constantly reaching out to everyone to partake in the campaign.
“We have to keep our system working in order for us to go with the trend of increasing our vaccination rate. We would like to encourage everyone to help us address the vaccine hesitancy which remains the biggest barrier to increasing vaccination coverage. Kailangan natin magdouble time [We need to double time],” he said.
Mapupuno further called on the public to adhere to the aspiration of the national government of achieving herd immunity or immunizing at least 80% of the eligible population for the sake of the general welfare.
She highlighted that everyone must not be complacent considering that the pandemic continues and one can still get infected with the coronavirus.
“We really need your support in order to reach our 80% target. Hindi talaga tayo tatantanan ng national [government] hanggang hindi tayo makareach ng 80% [The national [government] will not really leave us until we reach 80%],” said Mapupuno.
In the latest tally, 40% of the general population of the province, or a total of 267,553 are fully vaccinated. With regards to the pediatric population, 3,488 or 2% of the 220,096 children who are five to eleven years old are fully immunized while for those aging 12 to 17 years old, 30,194 or 19% received complete doses. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)