The Northern Samar provincial government has asked national government agencies to help in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to conflict-affected remote communities to speed up its vaccination program.
Northern Samar provincial health Officer Ninfa Caparroso-Kam said on Tuesday they have asked the members of the regional inter-agency task force on emerging infectious diseases and the regional task force against Covid-19 for assistance.
These rebel-infested villages are in the towns of Silvino Lobos, Las Navas, Catubig, Lapinig, and Mapanas.
Kam said providing them air support (air transport) to efficiently deliver vaccines to remote villages is a great help to achieve vaccination of more residents.
“There are several remote villages and sometimes our health workers were caught in crossfire while hiking. This is a big setback in reaching the target and this is not fair,” Kam said.
Data from the Department of Health regional office shows that Northern Samar province is one of the less performing local government units in terms of Covid-19 inoculation.
The province recorded a 68 percent inoculation rate as of Aug. 14, administering 751,742 total vaccines for first, second, and booster dose.
Of the 24 towns in the province, only the island town of Capul attained a 100 percent vaccination rate.
Other towns with high accomplishments are the towns of San Jose, San Antonio, Lavezares, and Victoria.
Poor vaccination coverage has been recorded in the towns of Silvino Lobos (42.4 percent), Las Navas (53.8 percent), and Gamay (57.4 percent).
“We tried to request in the past, but there was no response. I understand because there were frequent encounters between government forces and rebels when we made the request,” Kam added.
Responding to Kam’s appeal, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) policy development and planning section chief Sher Rysiah Saises urged her to send a formal letter of request to their office so that they could help and assist them in their problem.
Saises cited Homonhon and Suluan Island in Guiuan town wherein the Tactical Operation Group of Philippine Air Force delivered Covid-19 vaccines after the local government unit requested help from the OCD in transporting the vaccines and health personnel. (PNA)