Gov’t to prioritize 3M unvaccinated seniors | Inquirer News
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Gov’t to prioritize 3M unvaccinated seniors

FILE PHOTO: Senior citizens wait for their turn to get vaccinated in Valenzuela City. PHOTO COURTESY OF VALENZUELA CITY LGU

Amid the surge of cases brought by the Omicron variant, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) said it would continue to prioritize the inoculation of unvaccinated individuals over the administration of booster shots for those who have completed their primary doses.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. warned that those who have not yet received the COVID-19 jab are more prone to hospitalization, severe cases and death.

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The Department of Health (DOH) recently reported that around 85 percent of patients confined in intensive care units and supported by mechanical ventilators were unvaccinated individuals.

“We will focus on our 3 million still unvaccinated senior citizens, as they are more vulnerable to hospitalization and death. We do not want our health-care facilities to be overwhelmed by the unvaccinated,” Galvez said in a statement on Friday.

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He clarified, however, that the administration of booster shots to eligible individuals would not slow down, and would rather continue to be ramped up since the country has enough vaccine supplies for primary doses and booster shots.

58.5M get 1st dose

According to Galvez, the country has around 100 million doses stored in warehouses, which would be enough to cover 28 to 30 million unvaccinated individuals and 25 million individuals needing booster shots.

According to figures from the DOH as of Jan. 13, only 58.5 million or 53 percent of the country’s more than 110 million have received at least a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The national government aims to fully vaccinate at least 77 million Filipinos in the first quarter of this year, and inoculate 90 million by the end of the second quarter.

“This current Omicron surge will target the unvaccinated. To all the [local governments] let us call on our constituents to get vaccinated to prevent them contracting severe complications, hospitalization, or the worst death,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) maintained that its order to barangay officials to prepare an inventory of unvaccinated residents was lawful and does not violate the people’s right to privacy.

Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson for the DILG, slammed the statement of ACT-Teachers party list Rep. France Castro, saying the list of unvaccinated individuals was a “witch hunt.”

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Inventory of unvaxxed

“To call the President’s directive as well as the ordinances passed by the [local governments] as a witch hunt is completely irresponsible and uncalled for. We are facing an unprecedented global health emergency and we need to protect the unvaccinated,” Malaya said in a statement on Friday.

“Again, the purpose of the inventory is to protect the unvaccinated from getting sick and dying as well as to protect our health-care system from being overwhelmed. How is that a witch hunt?” he added.

In a memorandum circular, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier ordered all the 42,046 barangays in the country to submit to the DILG a list of all of its vaccinated residents. This was in line with the pronouncement of President Duterte to restrict the movement of unvaccinated people—who number more than 51.6 million, or 46 percent of the country’s more than 110 million population.

Castro earlier said the DILG policy was unconstitutional and violative of a person’s right to privacy.

Detained Sen. Leila de Lima also expressed “serious concern” about the directive, saying “it has high potential for privacy rights and other human rights violations.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, senior citizens, unvaccinated seniors, vaccination program
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