The Department of Health (DOH) MIMAROPA regional office is urging people to get COVID-19 booster shots because the vaccine’s potency begins to wane after six months.
DOH-MIMAROPA Ma. Vilma V. Diez, Assistant Regional Director, said that they keep telling people to get booster shots and to get vaccinated, even if they haven’t had their first dose yet.
Diez also said the decreasing effectiveness of the vaccine may cause a slight increase in severe and critical cases of infection. She also noted that Palawan is among the provinces with a low rate of vaccination in the region, and even in the booster accomplishments. The low vaccination rate has kept the province under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 status for months now.
The latest tally from the Palawan Provincial Health Office (PHO) shows that the province has received a total of 1,448,936 vaccines from different pharmaceutical companies. However, only 976,278 have been utilized, and given to 464,946 fully vaccinated individuals. Of those, 457,341 have received only the first dose, while only 53,991 have received booster shots.
“Bumababa na po ang effectivity ng bakuna after six months. Bumababa ang immunity kaya medyo tumaas ang severe at critical. Kaunti lang naman, nakita natin na noong maraming nabakunahan ay kaunti ang kaso pero kasama po ang Palawan sa below ang coverage,” Diez said.
She also said fear and lack of proper information led to people not wanting to get vaccinated, adding that anti-vaxx groups also encouraged people, including indigenous peoples’ groups and religious groups, to get vaccinated.
Another reason she cited is the stigma of dengvaxia, which instilled fears among people.
To counter the anti-vaxx campaigners and further conduct more information dissemination, DOH-MIMAROPA conducted an IP Congress in partnership with the Palawan State University to encourage indigenous peoples and
“Una, ang mga kapatid nain na katutubo ay sinabi nila na magiging zombie sila, iba ang kanilang paniniwala kaya ang ginawa ng CHD ay nagsagawa tayo ng IP Congress. Sila ang naiimpleuwensyahan ng maling impormasyon,” she said.
“Pinagaralan na po ito, subok na subok na sa buong mundo. Tanggalin na po nila ang takot,” she said.
Diez also said that she had talked with Roger Capa, the head of the Department of Education’s Palawan Schools Division, about getting teachers in the province vaccinated.
“Nakipag-usap na ako kay superintendent Capa at agad niyang inatasan ang kanyang medical officer na ilista ang teaching and non-teaching staff dahil sila ang dapat na halimbawa sa mga mag-aaral,” she said, adding that she has also conducted a lecture to the more than 800 teaching and non-teaching personnel of DepEd-Palawan.
She also said Capa told her that he would bring up at PTA meetings the Pinas Lakas vaccination campaign of the DOH.
“Magbigigay sila ng award sa eskwelahan na mataas ang rating ng boosted teachers,” she said. (with a report from Gerald Ticke)