VAX DRIVE. Residents avail of free Covid-19 vaccines during the kickoff of the “PinasLakas” campaign in Samal, Bataan province on Monday (Aug. 15, 2022). The provincial government's drive “Bakunahan, Bayanihan sa Barangay: Boosted na Bataeño” was also simultaneously conducted in a bid to encourage more residents to be vaccinated.  (Photo by Ernie Esconde)

BALANGA CITY, Bataan – The "PinasLakas" mass vaccination drive against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) kicked off in this province on Monday in an effort to boost the government's vaccination program.

Part 2 of the provincial government’s campaign dubbed “Bakunahan, Bayanihan sa Barangay: Boosted na Bataeño” was also simultaneously conducted in a bid to encourage more residents to be vaccinated and boosted against the viral disease.

The inoculation sites in the province’s 11 towns and one city were opened for vaccination for the first and second doses as well as the first and second booster shots.

At the covered court adjacent to the public market in Samal town, many residents,  including children and adults, subjected themselves to vaccination.

Samal Mayor Alex Acuzar appealed to his constituents to avail of the necessary inoculation.

“Nananatili pa rin ang banta ng Covid-19 at mga variants nito sa ating kalusugan at pamumuhay. Kaya sa ngalan ng bayanihan at pagkakaisa upang makabangon mula sa pandemya, kinakailangan ng mas pinalakas na proteksyon laban dito (Covid-19 and its variants remain a threat to our health and life. Thus, in the spirit of bayanihan and cooperation in order to recover from the pandemic, there is a need for a stronger protection against this)," he said in an interview.

The mayor said the launching by the Department of Health (DOH) and the provincial government of the "PinasLakas: Boosted na Bataeño" campaign was aimed at further strengthening and intensifying the inoculation campaign against Covid-19.

Governor Jose Enrique Garcia III said they launched the drive with focus on booster doses because of the approaching opening of classes in public schools on Aug. 22.

"Inilunsad namin ang part 2 ng Bakunahan, Bayanihan sa Barangay: Boosted na Bataeño at ito ay isinabay pa sa kampanya ng national government. Para maengganyo ang ating mga kababayan ay nagparaffle pa linggo-linggo at magkakaroon ng grand draw sa October 31, 2022 (We launched the Part 2 of the Bakunahan, Bayanihan sa Barangay: Boosted na Bataeno coinciding with the national government campaign. To encourage our provincemates, there is a weekly raffle and there will be a grand draw on Oct. 31, 2022),”  the governor said in a separate interview.

At stake in the weekly draws are a cellphone for one winner, PHP10,000 each to two winners, and PHP5,000 each to three winners.

The grand draw on Oct. 31 offers PHP100,000 for one winner, PHP50,000 each for two winners, and PHP25,000 each for three winners.

Garcia said 30,000 individuals were vaccinated during the Part 1 of the campaign that ran for five days.

However, he said only 30 percent of their target received booster shots at that time.

The provincial government targets to vaccinate 400,000 individuals for the next three months, the governor said. (PNA)