DOH raises alarm on possible Covid-19 surge in BARMM

By Lade Jean Kabagani

MANILA – The government is keen to address the low daily vaccination output nationwide, particularly in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

During the prerecorded Talk to the People of President Rodrigo Duterte aired late Tuesday night, National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. cited that BARMM has the lowest vaccination output among 17 regions in the country, with only 25 percent of its target population fully vaccinated.

Galvez said both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Department of Health (DOH) have raised alarm over the possible surge of Covid-19 cases in BARMM amid the start of the month-long observation of Ramadhan.

“So ang nakikita po namin talaga nagkakaroon po tayo ng demand issue at saka po ‘yung mga vaccine preference (We see that there is an emerging demand issue and vaccine preferences) in the area,” he said.

Galvez cited some Muslims refusing to get vaccinated over concerns that the Covid-19 vaccines are not permissible in their religious and cultural beliefs.

Sabi kasi po ng iba na hindi po halal ‘yung ibang mga vaccine na ginagamit po natin. Iyon po ang ano po nila paniniwala po nila (Some are saying that the vaccines that we are using are not halal. That’s what they believed),” he said.

The geographical locations are also affecting the vaccination phase in BARMM, he said.

For instance, it would take six to seven hours of travel each time the vaccination team will go to the remote areas of Tawi-Tawi and Basilan for the inoculation of residents in the concerned areas.

Galvez said the government is pushing a “strategic focus towards vaccinating the majority of BARMM residents.”

To date, there are 66,230,305 Filipinos who have already received two primary series of Covid-19 vaccines, with 12,208,931 eligible vaccinees having their booster shots or additional protection against the dreaded disease. (PNA) 

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