GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The ongoing mass vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) will finally expand in the next few days to the A4 priority group.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, ordered the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 on Tuesday to immediately start the inoculation of essential government and private workers in the area.
He said the rollout of the vaccines should be fast-tracked and maximized amid the threats posed by the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant that is said to be more transmissible.
“All government workers should be vaccinated or at least given their dose by August,” he said in a closed-door meeting with local government and regional officials of Soccsksargen here.
As of Wednesday, the inoculation activities in Soccsksargen facilitated by the DOH-12 only covered the priority groups A1 (front-line health care workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidities).
For the A4 vaccination, Galvez said priority should be given to eligible individuals aged 40-years-old and above.
Aside from government workers, he said it should cover those working in vulnerable industries and establishments that require close interaction with people such as internet cafes, call centers, public markets, terminals, banks, and barbershops.
He assured the delivery of more vaccines in the region in the coming days to cover for the expanded rollout.
From July 1 to 19, the national government already shipped a total of 269,284 doses to Soccsksargen, comprising AstraZeneca, Sinovac’s CoronaVac, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, and Gamaleya’s Sputnik V vaccines.
Some 375,745 additional vaccine doses will be delivered to the region, through the DOH-12, until the end of the month.
But Galvez said the focused vaccination for those under A1, A2, and A3 should continue at a faster rate until the desired population protection level is achieved.
“Once we vaccinate 70 percent of them we’re quite safe already,” he said, adding that it could eventually result in lesser mortalities and hospitalization.