(Courtesy of Gov. Nilo Demerey Jr. Facebook)

BUTUAN CITY – The provincial government of Dinagat Islands has thought of various innovations to entice its senior citizens and other priority groups to have themselves vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a phone interview on Saturday, Gov. Nilo Demerey Jr. said they started the week-long bingo games for senior citizens at the covered court in San Jose town on Friday.

“All seniors who are vaccinated are free to join with prizes such as grocery items and rice. Unvaccinated seniors must avail of the free vaccination before they can join,” Demerey said, adding 14 more elderly residents were inoculated on Friday.

Next week, PHP500 in cash will be given to every senior citizen who would avail of the vaccines while the vaccinator gets PHP100 for every availment.

“They are still hesitant to have themselves vaccinated. We hope these innovations will help,” Demerey said. “After one week, we will evaluate the results.”

Free ice cream is likewise given during recess time in schools to children who are vaccinated while free use of bridal cars can be availed by couples whose family members are vaccinated against Covid-19.

“I would like to emphasize that government services in Dinagat are available to all, whether vaccinated or not. There is no bias in the rendering of government services to our people,” Demerey said.

The Department of Health (DOH) will conduct the “PinasLakas” vaccination campaign in Caraga on September 26 to 30.

The region has an 89.27-percent vaccination coverage, with 1.7 million already completing their primary doses.

A total of 284 active Covid-19 patients are in isolation as of September 17, including one new case from Dinagat, according to DOH data. (PNA)