(Legazpi City, April 26, 2022) – The Albay Provincial Health Office (APHO), headed by PGDH Officer-In-Charge Dr. Estela B. Zenit called an initial meeting of the stakeholders of the Albay Provincial Vaccination Operation Team focused on the resumption of the vaccination program in the next few months.

In the initial meeting of the stakeholders held at Albay Astrodome, it discussed the probable concerns primarily getting to hear suggestions on how to raise at least eighty percent (80%) target vaccination rate.

At the start of the meeting, Atty. Jose Noel R. Rubio, one of the legal officers in the Albay Capitol, in his opening message, strongly shared his insights, explaining the importance of having a strategic plan to combat the problems or challenges in implementing the vaccination programs in the Province of Albay.

Mark Gumba, Operations & Coordination Head of APHO, discussed the updates on the COVID-19 Vaccination Program coverage, telling the stakeholders that as of April 26, 2022, the Albay Health Office has recorded a total coverage of 872,902, equivalent to seventy-six percent (76%) have been vaccinated.

In its report, Mark Gumba said that the total fully vaccinated out of the 872,902 or 76% was 805,828, equivalent to seventy percent (70%) while those administered with individual booster shots totaled 79,501, equivalent to six percent (6%).

Gumba said that only the City of Legazpi, the City of Tabaco, and the Municipality of Tiwi have gained 80–100% coverage, highlighting that Legazpi City leads with a total coverage rate of 106 of which 93% were fully vaccinated, and 17% had been administered booster shots.

He said the rest of the 14 cities and municipalities were tagged as having 50–75% total coverage of vaccination. These were Malinao, Malilipot, Bacacay, Sto. Domingo, Manito, Polangui, Libon, Ligao, Oas, Pioduran, Guinobatan, Jovellar, Camalig, and Daraga.

The municipality of Rapu-Rapu, however, sadly recorded 39% of the total coverage, and only 37% of the population was fully vaccinated with 0% on booster shots.

Dr. Zenit showed her enthusiasm by citing her aim to reach a population of 1,148,506 in Albay, equivalent to 80% or more as the target number to be vaccinated with an anti-COVID-19 vaccine in the province of Albay.

From this overview, the stakeholders were invited to raise their concerns and suggestions on how to strengthen the implementation of the next vaccination program, one of which was to translate the IEC materials into Filipino or into a local dialect to facilitate easy comprehension by every individual, making it to become effective in the information dissemination drive.

Secondly, another concern raised was with regards to the “No Vaccination, No Entry” policy which was suggested to be strictly monitored.

Thirdly, a uniform vaccination card must be handed to vaccinated individuals in the whole province of Albay, explaining that it would be an effective way to mitigate the spread of the faux vaccination cards that are presented in public and private establishments.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) in Albay reported the ongoing orientation to parents and students on the compliance with the enforcement of the strict health and safety protocols, especially since some schools have resumed face-to-face classes.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) committed to the information dissemination campaign of the DOH and APHO, saying that they will move to deploy their personnel to vaccination sites in order to ensure the safety of every individual.

In closing, Dr. Zenit expressed deep thanks to all the members and stakeholders of the Albay Provincial Vaccination Operation Center (APVOC) who have shared their recommendations and concerns for the betterment of the resumption of the vaccination program, further saying that she hoped with optimism for an increase in the total coverage of fully vaccinated individuals in the province of Albay as envisioned.

Jose M. Briones/Kristel Abad, Albay PIO

Photo Credits:  Lorie Barcelon