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Angara: step up efforts to vaccinate seniors

October 23, 2021 - Saturday 6:10 PM by GDM

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Senator Sonny Angara prodded the health authorities and local government units across the country to go the extra mile to vaccinate members of the elder population, a significant portion of which remain unvaccinated to this day.

In a statement Saturday, Angara noted that even though the authorities prioritized senior citizens when it rolled out its vaccination program early this year, some 3.4 million of the 8.5 million of the elderly have yet to receive their first dose of the vaccines.

"It has been seven months since we started our vaccination program. Our health authorities, together with the LGUs should actively seek out our senior citizens and make sure that they receive their jabs at the soonest possible time," said Angara.

"We understand that many of our seniors have their apprehensions about being vaccinated against but the fact is that these vaccines have been proven to save lives. And considering that seniors are the most vulnerable to severe COVID-19, it is imperative that most, if not all, of them should be given protection," he added.

The World Health Organization reported that around 3.4 million seniors remain unvaccinated—with Regions 3, 4A, 7, 6, 11, 5 and 1 recording the most number of unvaccinated.

According to the WHO, the slow rollout among senior citizens leaves the Philippines vulnerable to its hospitals being overwhelmed due to severe cases among the elderly, and possibly higher deaths due to a surge in cases from the fast-spreading Delta variant confirmed to be locally transmitted.

Angara said the issue is no longer the lack of supply of vaccines but finding ways to deliver these to the seniors and for those who refuse to be vaccinated, convincing them to receive their first doses.

Since many senior citizens are not able to get out of their homes, Angara said the LGUs, particularly at the level of the barangays, should find ways to deliver the vaccines to these seniors.

"We have seen a number of LGUs that have successfully done door-to-door vaccinations of senior citizens. They can serve as models for the other LGUs to replicate so that we can get more of our seniors protected against serious ailments related to COVID-19," Angara said.