Metro Manila mayors have not discussed proposals thus far to deescalate the capital region, where 13 million people live, to Alert Level 0, the chairman of the Metro Manila Council has said.
Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez told reporters he and his fellow mayors had held off on talks amid the identification of a new coronavirus variant identified by the World Health Organization as Deltacron.
Asked for his own take on moving to Alert Level 0 from the present Alert Level 1, Olivarez said the status quo might be best for now.
While some experts said NCR might be ripe for a pandemic exit, others still caution against further relaxing of restrictions due to various factors such as the 2022 election campaign period.
Meanwhile, the government may again fail to achieve the target of vaccinating 1.8 million more Filipinos during the fourth wave of the “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” national vaccination drive, an official of the Department of Health said Sunday.
Health Undersecretary and National Vaccination Operations Center chairperson Dr. Myrna Cabotaje, during a Super Radyo dzBB interview, reiterated that as of the second day of the three-day initiative, only 44.49 percent of the target were vaccinated, with 836,162 cumulative doses administered.
“It was difficult and there were many factors why we did not reach our target of 1.8 million. We might only reach around a million in three days,” Cabotaje said.
Bayanihan, Bakunahan 4 was conducted from March 10 to 12, 2022, aiming to get more senior citizens and children vaccinated against COVID-19.
One of the reasons for this failure to achieve the 1.8 million target was the rain showers and flooding in several areas, resulting in people not being able to go out and the vaccinators not being able to proceed with house-to-house jabs, Cabotaje said.
Cabotaje said some Filipinos are also now complacent and think they no longer need the primary and booster doses as the COVID-19 infections nationwide have been decreasing.
“Many are still unvaccinated, especially among seniors. It is very difficult for us to convince our seniors to get vaccinated because they say they have nowhere to go so they don’t need to get vaccinated,” she said.
She noted that vaccination output remained low in the BARMM and Mimaropa Regions, having only inoculated 15,000 and 14,000 respectively during the first two days of the initiative.
Due to this, Cabotaje said the Health Department would re-strategize and extend the Bayanihan, Bakunahan this coming week in areas with low vaccination rates.
“We will extend the booster inoculation to Tuesday and then we will re-strategize. We know it’s hard but our health workers don’t give up. They will re-strategize in areas to reach our seniors. The suggestion of other regions is to continue the inoculation among senior citizens until Friday,” she said.
Meanwhile, Cabotaje said pediatric vaccinations had a good turnout with 50 percent of those aged 12 to 17 already receiving their primary doses.
“Parents of kids aged 5-11 were willing to have their children vaccinated. Even in BARMM and Region 12. You will be surprised that even though BARMM has the lowest vaccination rate, vaccinations of children aged 5-11 was high,” she said.
“The only problem is we don’t have enough vaccines,” she said.