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Low vax rate among seniors bewailed

I did not see many seniors getting vaxxed (vaccinated). Most of the people I saw getting jabbed were adult workers, young adults, and teenagers, but very few seniors.

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A party list solon representing senior citizens on Monday lamented the low Covid-19 vaccination rate in the elderly sector despite the government’s conduct of a massive vaccination drive recently.

Senior party-list Rep. Rodolfo “Ompong” Ordanes expressed concern over the data wherein only about 50 percent of the almost 10 million Filipino senior citizens have been fully inoculated against Covid-19 since the government rolled out its vaccination program on 1 March this year.

“I am deeply saddened because as of 4 December, only 5.2 million seniors have been fully vaccinated, while 4.74 million seniors have not received their second dose yet. Less than 150,000 seniors have received booster shots,” Ordones pointed out.

He said even the four-day national vaccination drive was not enough to increase the vaccination rate in this vulnerable group.

“I did not see many seniors getting vaxxed (vaccinated). Most of the people I saw getting jabbed were adult workers, young adults, and teenagers, but very few seniors. When our families gather this Christmas, the risk of infecting unvaxxed seniors increases much,” Ordanes noted.

The lawmaker called on the National Task Force against Covid-19 (NTF), Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), and local government units (LGU) to address the low vaccination turnout among senior citizens despite being regarded as the “A2 priority group” or the sector that is the second to the top priority of the government’s vaccination program.

“There is something wrong happening on the ground. The NTF, IATF, and some LGU seem to have forgotten the seniors — the ones who are at high risk of dying of Covid-19 or getting severe to critical because of Covid-19. Why has this happened?” Ordones pointed out.

He stressed that the government must also prioritize the senior citizens living outside Metro Manila considering that they are at increased risk of severe illness and death amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am expecting the latest data breakdown of vaccinated A2 in every city and town. I will not be satisfied with mere regional breakdowns. The IATF and NTF must show the details by city, town, and province so that we can clearly see where the problems are and exact accountability, so we can save more lives and keep more seniors from dying,” he underscored.

In July 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO)called for boosted efforts by LGU to vaccinate the elderly, citing slow vaccination rollout among senior citizens while improved vaccination rates in other priority groups.

WHO pointed out that the elderly are at the “highest risk of the most severe outcomes of Covid-19,” with seven out of 10 Covid-19 deaths in the Philippines belonging to this group.

Last Saturday, 4 December, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reported that the Philippines inoculated a total of 9,937,827 Filipinos during its nationwide vaccine drive from 29 November to 3 December.

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