People being vaccinated by healthcare workers

Philippines pushes for ‘family vaccinations’ to rev up COVID-19 inoculations

Philippine health officials want families with multiple unvaccinated members living in the same household to receive their COVID-19 vaccine together as the government chases targets it set out to meet by the end of the year.

Eight months since coronavirus vaccines became available in the Philippines, the number of people fully vaccinated against the virus has hovered at about 25% of the total population, with 27.7 million individuals receiving two doses of a vaccine. Pandemic officials want, at the very least, to double this in just two month’s time to have 50% of the country’s 110 million people fully vaccinated before 2021 closes.

By encouraging vaccinations by families, officials aim to maximize on the recent eligibility of 12.7 million minors aged 12 to 17 who are now cleared to get a COVID-19 shot, along with the rest of the general adult population to whom vaccinations were opened to in October.

With more members of a household covered, health officials then want to entice a specific priority sector of the vaccine drive: senior citizens aged 60-years-old and above who have held out on getting a shot. Despite becoming eligible for vaccination in April, official figures showed there were still some 43% of individuals in the elderly population who have yet to be fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, November 2.

“We are hoping that with the opening up of our pediatric age group, our grandfathers and grandmothers will be encouraged to get vaccinated…. It’s important that families are protected. If the whole family is vaccinated, they are protected,” Department of Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said in a mix of English and Filipino during a forum on Wednesday, November 3.

Cabotaje heads the Philippines’ National Vaccine Operation Center (NVOC) which oversees the daily moves of local government units (LGUs) when administering shots.

Article by Sofia Tomacruz | Rappler