Northern Samar calls for inoculation help

TACLOBAN CITY — The provincial government of Northern Samar is urging national government agencies to aid it in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to
conflict-affected remote communities to speed up its vaccination program.

According to Northern Samar provincial health officer Ninfa Caparroso-Kam, 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.

The rebel-infested villages were identified as the towns of Silvino Lobos, Las Navas, Catubig, Lapinig and Mapanas and Kam said that providing air support or 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 is one of the less performing local government units in terms of Covid-19 inoculation as the province recorded a 68 percent inoculation rate as of 14 August, 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, while 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 with 42.4 percent, Las Navas with 53.8 percent and Gamay with 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 said.

Meantime, Office of Civil Defense policy development and planning section chief Sher Rysiah Saises urged the provincial health officer 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.

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