(File photo)

MANILA – The government is still finalizing the number of social mobilizers to be hired to improve Covid-19 vaccination rates in areas with low coverage, a health official said Tuesday.

In an online media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Department of Health has not decided when the social mobilizers would be deployed on the ground.

“Humahanap pa muna tayo ng resources para meron tayong pang pondo (We’re still looking for resources, so we have funds) and we’ll be able to sustain these social mobilizers,” she added.

Last week, National Vaccination Operations Center chief Myrna Cabotaje said social mobilizers could help increase the vaccination rate alongside vaccinations in houses and workplaces.

Cabotaje disclosed the areas lagging in vaccination coverage include the Bangsamoro Region, Soccsksargen, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Central and Eastern Visayas, and the Zamboanga Peninsula, and Northern Mindanao.

Vergeire noted that the DOH "somehow has exhausted” all strategies, especially in areas with vaccine hesitancy.

“This is where our social mobilizers will come in. They will try to map out the different communities, titingnan kung ano po ang mga nakikitang balakid kung bakit hindi tayo makapagbakuna ng 100 percent sa mga komunidad na ‘yan (they will look into the other factors why we can’t vaccinate 100 percent in those communities),” she said.

The social mobilizers will inform the community about the benefits and side effects of the Covid-19 jabs before vaccinators visit every house and workplace in the area to administer the shots.

To date, more than 66.2 million individuals are already fully vaccinated against Covid-19 while 71.4 million have received their first dose of the jabs as of April 4. (PNA)