Abante: Ramp up jabs rollout in provinces
AS the government begins providing coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine booster shots to frontliners and the elderly, Deputy Speaker and Manila Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr. has urged authorities to ramp up the rollout of jabs in the provinces given the low vaccination rates in areas outside Metro Manila.
“The good news is that in Metro Manila we are close to vaccinating the 70% threshold needed to protect the population in NCR,” Abante said.
“However, it is only in Metro Manila that we have vaccinated over a third of our targeted population; in the provinces, we still have a long way to go,” Abante lamented.
The representative from Manila had earlier called on the government to provide booster shots for health workers and senior citizens, the most vulnerable sectors in the general population.
Now that they are being provided booster shots, and minors 12 to 17 are being vaccinated as well, Abante reminded the government to step efforts in provinces––especially in areas where COVID-19 cases are shooting up.
“It is commendable that it appears we already have vaccine supplies available, but securing the vaccines is only half the battle,” according to lawmaker.
“The real and immediate challenge is to mobilize the government and LGU (local government unit) machinery so those vaccine doses are administered as quickly as possible to prevent surges in the provinces,” he said.
While COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila have dropped to pre-surge levels, on October 19 two provinces––Negros Oriental and Davao Occidental––were placed under Alert Level 4.
Nationally, only 31.76% of the targeted population is fully vaccinated. National Capital Region (NCR) tops all regions with 80.78% of its targeted population already fully vaccinated; the next highest is Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) at 34.758%
According to the lawmaker, local economies in the regions will not be able to recover if only a small portion of their population is vaccinated.
He pointed out that “as long as people stay home, their money stays home with them––and so many services and industries suffer losses as a result.”
“Our economy needs a shot in the arm, and to pave the way for this we have to get the vaccines in the arms of our kababayan in the provinces,” Abante said.