In support of President Ferdinand ‘BongBong’ Marcos, Jr.’s directive to ramp up COVID-19 booster vaccination rate in the country, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday conducted a simultaneous Bakunahang Bayan: PinasLakas Special Vaccination Day in its Central and Regional Offices to inoculate with COVID-19 booster shots all of its 6,140 employees.

DILG Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos, Jr., who joined Department employees in DILG Region XII in Koronadal, South Cotabato for the Bakunahan activity, said the simultaneous booster vaccination to further immunize the 1,026 personnel from the Central Office and 5,114 from the Regional Offices of DILG is a clear manifestation of the Department, the national government, and various stakeholders’ united stand to end the COVID-19 pandemic by building a stronger wall of immunity to protect the public from the virus through booster vaccination.

“These booster vaccination drives we organized within the Department is our small way of showing the DILG’s full support to the government’s Bakunahang Bayan: PinasLakas Special Vaccination Days campaign. Kaisa po ang DILG sa hangarin ng ating Pangulo sa kampanyang ito. Itataguyod po namin ito hindi lamang sa ating LGUs, ngunit maging sa loob mismo ng aming Kagawaran,” Abalos said.

Bakunahang Bayan: PinasLakas Special Vaccination Days is an initiative of the Department of Health (DOH) targeting to augment the COVID-19 booster vaccination rate in the country by making vaccines accessible to the people in their workplace, transportation terminals, and drugstores, among others.

Abalos highlighted that DILG’s vaccination program among its employees was conducted within the Department’s central and regional offices ensuring the convenience and availability of COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses for its personnel.

“Hindi na kailangan pang lumayo ng ating mga kawani sa gobyerno. Nasa DILG mismo ang bakuna kaya hindi sila mahihirapan kumpletuhin ang kanilang bakuna at kumuha ng booster shot,” he said.

He said the health and safety of government workers come first to be able to fully deliver excellent service to the public.

In his first State of the Nation Address, the President directed the DOH and DILG to undertake another rollout for booster shots. “Patuloy din ang ating vaccine booster rollout para sa ating pangkalahatang depensa. Sa ganitong paraan, kahit pa tumaas muli ang bilang ng mga COVID cases, mananatiling mababa ang bilang ng mga maoospital at bilang ng mga namamatay.”

As of September 27, 2022, 73 million individuals have completed their primary vaccine series while 19.3 million individuals have received their COVID-19 booster doses. NCR has the highest number of booster individuals tallying 5,089,242, followed by CALABARZON with 3,098,816 and Central Luzon with 2,635,869.

LGUs’ intensified vax program

Abalos also enjoined the local government units (LGUs) to intensify the booster vaccination program in their respective localities to achieve the government’s vaccination goal of 90% for the senior citizen population for the primary series and 50% of the general population for the first booster dose, for the first 100 days of the administration.

In a DILG Memorandum, Abalos urged all local chief executives (LCEs) to mobilize their resources and conduct a stronger COVID-19 vaccination program until October 8. “We have demonstrated time and again that we are stronger, together. Katulad po ng paglaban natin sa COVID-19 halos tatlong taon na, samahan ninyo po kaming muli.”

Under the memorandum, LGUs are enjoined to establish local vaccination sites in malls, plazas, markets, places of worship, basketball courts, and other covered courts; mobilize and capacitate their local Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) to conduct the vaccination drive for senior citizens; mobilize barangay officials to conduct a master listing of unvaccinated residents; and coordinate with the provincial offices and community service centers of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and identify areas with high numbers of unvaccinated IPs.

LGUs are also encouraged to heighten local advocacy and demand generation through an information, education, and communication (IEC) campaign, among others.

Likewise, Abalos instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to coordinate with the LGUs, DOH Center for Health Development, and other key partners in the conduct of PinasLakas.

He said that top performing LGUs in their PinasLakas vaccination drives shall be awarded on October 9.

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