GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Rural health units (RHUs) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) have started the inoculation of the general population against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Arjohn Gangoso, Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 spokesperson, on Monday said selected RHUs have opened their vaccination for individuals not covered under priority groups A1 to A5 as endorsed by the agency.

He said some 760 individuals have already received their first dose of the vaccine since last week while four are now fully vaccinated.

RHUs have utilized Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Janssen, Moderna, and Pfizer for the expanded vaccination activities based on the supplies delivered by the National Vaccine Operations Center.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved the vaccination of the general population after it initially covered priority groups A1 (frontline health care workers), A2 (senior citizens), A3 (persons with comorbidities), A4 (essential workers), and A5 (indigent residents).

“We’re continually expanding our coverage as we receive more vaccine supplies,” Gangoso said in an interview.

He said the RHUs, in coordination with barangay health workers, have also opened the registration for individuals aged 12 to 17 years old for the vaccination.

He, however, said they are still waiting for advice from their central office for the start of the inoculation activities.

Gangoso urged parents to enlist their children with their barangays so they can be included in the vaccination schedule once approved by the national government.

A report released by DOH-12 said it has administered a total of 971,681 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to eligible individuals in the region’s four provinces and four cities.

Some 485,634 residents have already received their first dose while 486,047 are so far fully vaccinated.

DOH-12 and the RHUs have been extensively campaigning for the vaccination of all eligible individuals in the region as a strategy to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

As of Sunday night, the region has a total of 5,011 active cases, significantly decreasing from the over 6,600 two weeks ago.

The confirmed cases in the region since last year already reached 51,515, with 1,695 related deaths and 44,809 recoveries.

The average daily attack rate for Covid-19 in Region 12 has dropped to 4 percent after reaching 9.68 percent per 100,000 population in early September. (PNA)