THE BANGSAMORO Ministry of Health is setting up 71 vaccination sites across the region after the May 9 elections to ramp up coverage rate, which stood at only 28% of the target population as of April 18.
“I am inviting our fellow Bangsamoro who have not yet been vaccinated to participate in the upcoming Special Vaccination Days in the region, because vaccine is Halal and it can help eliminate the threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic,” Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim said in a briefing earlier this week.
The vaccination days are set between May 11 to 20, with at least three days scheduled for each of the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur.
At least 215,776 people are targeted for inoculation within that period.
As of April 18, Department of Health data show the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) had administered 1,478,544 jabs, the lowest among 17 regions in the country.
The region’s target population for vaccination against COVID-19 is 3.4 million.
Of the total in BARMM, 904,735 were first dose, 492,189 second dose, and 81,620 booster shot.
Health OIC Minister Zulqarneyn M. Abas said in the same briefing that the region’s low coverage rate is mainly due to hesitancy.
“Our top enemy in the low vaccination roll out in our region is the high vaccination hesitancy of the public,” he said.
The Philippine government has set a target nationwide coverage of at least 70%.
Health ministry Director General Amirel S. Usman said while the region has been recording low COVID-19 cases and remains at “relatively low risk,” a higher vaccination rate would help mitigate potential future outbreaks.
The mass vaccination project is supported by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM), local government units, and sectoral leaders. — MSJ