Gov. Cua calls for volunteers to join ramped-up vaccination

Governor Joseph Cua has called on nurses and medical professionals to volunteer to be part of new vaccination teams to be created in an effort to intensify COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Catanduanes.
Last week, the provincial chief executive encouraged all nurses, medical students, medical personnel from private hospitals and clinics, nurse educators from national agencies, including those from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Department of Education (DepEd), and members of organizations and fraternities, are encouraged to sign up at the Rural Health Units in their localities or through an online form at https://tinyurl.com/catnesvaxteam.
The governor’s appeal was echoed on Facebook by the Catanduanes Medical Society, through its president Dr. Geraldine Balmadrid-Rojas, which asked student nurses, midwives, dentists or “anyone who can offer any kind of help” to join the vaccine drives by texting or calling cellphone number 0928 502 9839.
Subsequently, Gov. Cua directed all RHUs and district hospitals to facilitate and provide necessary assistance to all individuals who will be registering as volunteers for the vaccination teams to be created that will serve as additional manpower in the vaccine rollout in Catanduanes.
“Once there are enough number of registered volunteers, you are hereby authorized to create an additional vaccination team to further expedite the vaccination,” he stated in Memorandum No. 289 dated Nov. 4, 2021.
It may be recalled that during the recent meeting of the Provincial IATF, health officials attributed a recent slowdown in the vaccination drive to rising number of health care workers getting infected by the virus as well as colleagues who had to go on quarantine for being close contacts.
These took away much-needed manpower from the vaccination teams at the provincial and local levels which are composed mostly of health workers.
The Cua administration’s move is likewise in response to a challenge issued last Oct. 27 by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to all local government units nationwide to ramp up and intensify vaccination efforts to reach the target of 70% of the total population fully vaccinated before the end of the year.
In a NTF-DILG-DOH-LGU meeting, Secretary Eduardo M. Año told LGUs that the national government’s target is to reach 70% of the total population with at least one (1) dose by the end of November and 70% of the total population fully vaccinated by the end of December.
“Now that we have around 40 Million doses sent to the provinces, we need to immediately jab these vaccines to the general population; thus we need the LGUs to double their efforts. As they say this is now “Vax to Max!. Lets have a truly Merry Christmas this year,” he said.
As of October 24, 55.71 million doses have been administered in the country, of which 30-million individuals had their first doses, and 25.71-million had their second doses and are fully vaccinated.
Año also urged provinces to distribute to their component cities and municipalities their vaccine supplies within three days from the date of delivery to avoid wastage. He said the receiving cities and municipalities should administer the vaccines to qualified recipients immediately and not more than within 15 days from the date of transfer.
“Now that we have a steady supply of vaccines, we need to ensure the timely distribution and administration of available vaccines not only to prevent wastage of resources but also to achieve population protection by year-end,” he said.
In cities and municipalities that do not have enough storage facilities with cold chain temperature requirements, Año said the provinces should serve as storage hubs provided that COVID-19 vaccines for first doses are utilized within seven days and on schedule for the second doses.
The DILG chief strongly admonished against vaccine wastage saying that in case of negligence or indifference, LGU employees and personnel shall be properly investigated and necessary sanctions will be imposed, if warranted.
He said that those who will attempt to prevent the efficient implementation of the vaccination program will also be dealt with properly in accordance with existing laws and policies.
To address vaccine hesitancy, particularly in rural and far-flung areas, he emphasized that all LGUs must have existing, effective, and well-crafted LGU Risk Communication Plan to increase vaccine acceptance and willingness.
Año also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to deploy manpower and resource assets to support LGUs vaccination and to initiate communication campaigns aligned with the LGUs’ Risk Communication Plan to convince people to get COVID-19 jabs.
In cases of vaccine negligence or lack of foresight by the LGUs and their personnel, Año also directed the PNP to conduct an investigation and submit the results to the DILG.

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