COVID-19 VAX DRIVE. Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (center) with Murcia Mayor Victor Gerardo Rojas (2nd from right), and Third District Provincial Board Member Manuel Frederick Ko (right) at the launching of the Bakunahang Bayan: PinasLakas Special Vax Days at the Murcia public plaza on Thursday (Sept. 29, 2022). Health Undersecretaries Charade Mercado-Grande (3rd from left) and Kenneth Ronquillo (3rd from right) led the Covid-19 ceremonial vaccination during the event. (Photo courtesy of PIO Negros Occidental)

BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government continues to step up its campaign to vaccinate more Negrenses against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) with the launching of the Bakunahang Bayan: PinasLakas Special Vax Days in Murcia town on Thursday.

The event, which aims for 90 percent fully vaccinated senior citizens and 50 percent first booster dose for the general population, was supported by officials of the Department of Health.

“We’re also helping the province in the overall campaign. That’s why we’re here to give support,” Undersecretary for Health Policy and Infrastructure Kenneth Ronquillo told reporters.

Ronquillo together with Undersecretary for Health Regulation Team Charade Mercado-Grande led the ceremonial vaccination held at the town’s public plaza, in the presence of Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Mayor Victor Gerardo Rojas.

Lacson acknowledged that Negros Occidental has been lagging behind other provinces in the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

“It’s nothing to be proud of. I just have be honest enough to say that we have fallen short of our target. It needs a concerted effort of all local government units,” he added.

Lacson stressed the need for booster shots, saying that without it, the people stand to lose the gains of the first vaccination and would not be able to maintain the population’s immunity.

“At present, we are lagging behind the national target. To address this concern, we need to step up and strengthen our vaccination efforts. Consequently, I am calling on all our LGUs to intensify our local vaccination efforts,” he said.

The governor urged the cities and municipalities to find ways and think of innovative plans not just to reach the desired numbers, but to achieve the desired end of winning the fight against Covid-19.

Data of the DOH-Western Visayas as of Sept. 29 showed that only 62.20 percent or 139,200 of the target 229,162 senior citizens in Negros Occidental have been fully vaccinated.

Some 10.8 percent, or 24,751 individuals in the 60 and above age group have availed of booster shots.

Among those aged 18 to 59, fully vaccinated are 945,952 individuals or 82.71 percent of the 1.429 million target vaccinees.

A total of 130,540 vaccinees, or 11.41 percent, have already received booster shots in the said age group. (PNA)