The provincial government of Iloilo on Wednesday launched its “Bakas para sa PinasLakas” program to boost the coverage of the coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination and to reach the target of its national counterpart campaign in the province.
Department of Health (DOH) officer in charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, who graced the launching of the program at the provincial capitol, said the vaccination drive here is a good model that can be replicated in other localities.
The “PinasLakas” campaign is a directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to increase vaccination coverage, especially for boosters.
Iloilo’s version, “Bakas para sa PinasLakas”, is a convergence program with the national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and multisectoral groups.
Vergeire said this strategy employed by the provincial government integrating the Covid-19 vaccination in other programs of various sectors is helpful to the campaign.
“This is a very excellent example that can be modeled and adopted by other local governments,” she said.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, in his message, said “Bakas para sa PinasLakas” has three components contained in Executive Order 304 that he signed on Aug. 19, 2022 to intensify the vaccination program targeting the indigent sector and increase the low coverage of the booster dose.
“Our health programs and health initiatives are always in collaboration with the other national government agencies, especially the Department of Health,” he said in a press conference that followed the launching.
The first component, the “Bugas (rice) para sa PinasLakas”, is in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture that will give rice to those availing of the vaccine.
The second is “Bakuna Ulayhon (simultaneous or together) sa Programa” where vaccination will be integrated into other programs of the government like in environment, sports, agriculture, education, public safety and order, among others.
The last component is “Bakuna Antes Sinadya” which will bring the vaccination drive closer to the target population in the private sectors such as establishments, industries, livelihood sectors and gatherings/activities.
“Any opportunity that we can take advantage of people circulation and gatherings we will conduct vaccination,” Defensor said.
Vergeire, in the same press conference, said the government is “making the vaccines closer to our people”.
She added that the settings-based approach is being implemented where vaccination is being conducted in workplaces, schools, hospitals, malls, markets, and churches.
“With all of these, our local governments would need assistance coming from the national or even through regional offices,” Vergeire said.
The Iloilo Provincial Health Office data showed that 1.27 million or 87.04 percent of the 1.461 million eligible population are fully vaccinated; 246, 003 or 16.83 percent received their first dose and 9, 959 or 0.68 percent have been administered their second booster as of Aug. 15, 2022. (PNA)