By Claire Gigje
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA) — To level up the COVID-19 vaccination drive and increase the vaccination turnout here, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the City Health Office (CHO), and the Lanao del Sur Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in partnership with the Mindanao State University (MSU)-Main Campus kicked off Monday, May 16 the special vaccination days at Antonio Isidro Hall grounds of the university.
The initiative runs for five days until May 20 this year and targets to reach herd immunity, vaccinating 70% to 80% of the eligible population which is composed of individuals aged five years old and above.
IPHO Chief Dr. Alinader Minalang bared that the BARMM and Lanao del Sur province in particular has recorded the lowest vaccination turnout among the 14 regions in the whole Philippines.
As such, he stressed that they intend to steer their citizens into viewing the inoculation program as beneficial so that they may be encouraged to participate.
Minalang stated that the effort will also be a significant step toward hindering a surge from happening.
“COVID-19 vaccination is essential for our survival and health, and it has brought a lot of benefits. In fact, it is now an essential part of our intervention in order to prevent more people from getting sick of COVID-19 and in order for us to avoid another bout of COVID-19 pandemic surge in our province… We are giving attention to improve our vaccination rate in the province of Lanao del Sur,” he said.
MOH Director-General Dr. Amirel Usman affirmed that the region indeed has to strengthen its vaccination program as he underscored that the place cannot return to its normal days if the struggle in the turnout continues.
“Sana ay tulungan ninyo kami sa aming adhikain. Hindi lang ito para sa atin. Para rin ito sa ating pamilya at komunidad [I hope that you help us in our goal. This is not only for us. This is also for our family and community] in general. We have been dreaming of going back to normal but how can we go back to normal if we, ourselves, are not yet vaccinated? Until now, we are not yet enjoying kung ano ang naienjoy ng [what is enjoyed by] other big cities wherein their people are just going in and out of the city,” he said.
CHO Chief Dr. Ali Dalidig, on the other hand, reiterated that there is no need to be afraid of vaccines as this is proven to be serving its purpose in this day’s health crisis.
“Kailangan tayong magpavaccine. Dapat hindi tayo matakot sa vaccine. Ito ay masusing pinag-aralan,” he said.
[We need to be vaccinated. We must not be scared of the vaccine. This has been intensely studied.]
With the launching of the special vaccination days, at least seven barangays surrounding the MSU as well as the transitory shelters and their host communities in the city will be focused on. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)