Gov’t data: Only 8.9% of seniors fully vaccinated against COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Only 8.9 percent of senior citizens in the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as health authorities still counter vaccine hesitancy among some of the elderly, a member of the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group said Wednesday.
Citing data from the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) as of July 1, Dr. Nina Castillo-Carandang noted that of the targeted 8.2 million senior citizens under the A2 priority group, only 29.32 percent or some 2.4 million have received their first dose while only 8.9 percent or 736,519 have been fully vaccinated.
“Malayo pa tayo. Ang gusto natin sana makatungtong tayo ng 100 percent dyan sa first dose. Sa second dose mas mababa pa tayo,” Carandang, also a health social scientist and professor at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of the Philippines – Manila, said during the online townhall session of the Department of Health (DOH).
(We are still far from our target. We want to reach 100 percent for the first dose. We are also low in terms of second dose.)
The first dose vaccination coverage for senior citizens is currently the lowest among the top four priority groups, which also include the A1 or health workers, A3 or persons with comorbidity, and A4 or economic frontliners, according to data shown by Carandang.
NVOC data showed that of the 1.6 million target vaccine recipients for the A1, 95.60 percent or 1.5 million have already received their first dose while 70.15 percent or 1.4 million have received their second dose.
Of the 7 million target for A3, 40.31 percent or 2.8 million have received their first jab, while 11.63 percent or 824,096 got their full dose.
Meanwhile, of the 1.3 million target for A4, 80.27 percent of 1.09 million have been vaccinated with their first dose and 1.66 percent or 22,660 have received their second shot.
Carandang noted that based on a survey conducted by the DOH in May, some people are hesitant to get the vaccines due to lack of trust in clinical trials, concerns on side effects, and “negative news” about the vaccine.
She said that for senior citizens, their incomplete or lack of information on vaccines is the reason why they are hesitant to receive the coronavirus shot.
Health authorities have been urging priority sectors to get vaccinated as they assure the safety and efficacy of approved COVID-19 vaccines especially against severe disease.
According to DOH data as of July 4, 13.65 percent or 196,010 of the 1.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country are senior citizens.
The case fatality rate (CFR), or the percentage of people who died among the confirmed cases, is 8.2 percent for senior citizens. This is a high figure since the CFR for COVID-19 cases across all populations in the country is only at 1.75 percent.
Carandang urged the public to help other senior citizens to register for vaccination in their respective local government units, noting that some may not yet be included in the 8.2 million target coverage for the elderly.
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