The Negros Occidental provincial government will provide rice incentives in some areas to boost the third wave of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive dubbed “Bayanihan Bakunahan” set Thursday and Friday, February 10-11.
But Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said Negros Occidental will not hit the new Department of Health target for fully vaccinated individuals in the province this February.
The Department of Health has increased the target to 80 percent of Negros Occidental’s population that is equivalent to about 2 million residents from an initial 70 percent or 1.8 million residents, he said.
Negros Occidental has so far only fully vaccinated 60 percent of its initial 1.8 million target residents to hit population protection.
Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said the Negros Occidental Provincial Health Office (PHO) and hospital teams will augment the vaccination drives in some areas in Kabankalan and Bago cities during the national vaccination days to boost their output.
The provincial government teams aim to vaccinate 1,000 residents each in Kabankalan and Bago, he said.
He said the governor has directed them to provide 2 kilos of rice for each individual who is vaccinated by the provincial government teams.
The DOH has identified Kabankalan, San Carlos and Bago cities as areas of concern for their low COVID-19 vaccination numbers, Diaz said.
The provincial government will also conduct vaccination drives at five sites during the distribution of housing materials and food packs to 3,979 typhoon victims in Cauayan on Thursday, he said.
The devastation caused by Typhoon “Odette” slowed down the vaccination drive in Negros Occidental, Diaz added.
5 TO 11 YEAR OLDS
The provincial government will also kick off its vaccination drive for children aged 5 to 11 years old at the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH) in Silay City on February 14, Diaz said.
They are inviting parents and guardians of children aged 5 to 11 years old to register them for vaccination at the PHO, TLJPH or at his office, Diaz said.
PANDEMIC TO ENDEMIC
The aim is to vaccinate the majority of the residents to move from a pandemic to endemic situation wherein those hit by COVID-19 will only suffer from fevers, Provincial Consultant Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said.
This will enable the opening up more food businesses and allow the resumption of face-to-face classes, he said.
It’s just a matter of time, in two or three months COVID-19 will become endemic and will be treated as an ordinary flu, he said.*