3.4 million Filipino senior citizens not yet vaccinated, says WHO-Philippines

October 22, 2021 - 8:56 PM
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An elderly woman receives a dose of Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Makati Coliseum, in Makati, Philippines, May 4, 2021. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

The World Health Organization-Philippines released infographics that bared how many seniors in the country remain unvaccinated seven months since the start of COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

WHO-Philippines’ infographics on October 16 showed that 3.4 million senior citizens in the country have not received their COVID-19 shots, citing data from September 20.

It also showed a picture of the low COVID-19 vaccination rates of the elderly in different regions in the country.

“Our unvaccinated seniors are at most risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. Our challenge: We still have 3.4 million whom we need to urgently reach with life-saving COVID-19 vaccines,” read the post.

WHO infographic posted on Oct. 16, 2021 showing the still-sizeable number of Filipino and Philippine residents above the age of 60 who are unvaccinated.

In a separate post on October 13, WHO-Philippines also showed a similar picture where most regions in the country still struggle to have their senior citizens fully inoculated, citing data from September 27.

“Vaccines give our seniors the protection they urgently need from COVID-19. Yet, many seniors in the country remain unvaccinated. Here’s a snapshot of the percentage of vaccinated seniors per region,” read the post.

In this post, here are the top five regions with the highest percentage of fully vaccinated elderly people:

  1. National Capital Region – 85.1%
  2. Region 4A or Calabarzon – 60.6%
  3. CAR – 60.0%
  4. Region 2 or Cagayan Valley – 59.7%
  5. Region 10 or Northern Mindanao – 54.1%
Vaccinated elderly in the Philippines
A WHO snapshot of the percentage of vaccinated seniors per region posted on Oct. 13, 2021.

Senior citizens and frontline health workers are the top priorities under the national government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

RELATED: Eyebrows raised over inclusion of local execs in vaccine priority list after Pfizer COVID-19 jab arrival

This program started last March 1 after the first batch of Sinovac’s CoronaVac arrived in the country.

READ: Saab Magalona, other personalities salute UP-PGH director ‘Gap’ for historic Sinovac jab 

As of October 21, according to the National Task Force against COVID-19 tracker, there are 4,588,635 individuals from the A2 group or the senior citizens who have received their complete jabs.

NTF’s vaccination dashboard, however, does not indicate the percentage of the population of the elderly who are among the most vulnerable to serious effects of the deadly coronavirus.

Screenshot of NTF COVID-19 vaccination tracker on October 22

Overall, the tracker showed that a total of 54,444,161 doses had already been administered.

This is still far off from the herd immunity goal, according to Reuters’ Philippine tracker. 

In its own statistics, a total of 53,838,248 doses have already been distributed.

This corresponds to being able to inoculate 24.9% of the country’s population only given that each person requires two doses.

A long way to go

ABS-CBN data analyst Edson Guido provided context on the sluggish vaccine distribution in the country, citing vaccine supply might no longer be the issue.

In a Twitter thread on October 20, Guido cited data from vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. in a previous briefing that the country currently has more than 38 million doses of vaccines available for distribution.

However, according to NTF’s dashboard, only 388,109 doses are being distributed on average, as of October 18.

He also observed a missing denominator or reference point in the vaccination statistics the government presents to the public.

“We must be cautious with the messaging because 57% of the population fully vaccinated in NCR is still insufficient. Sending the wrong message that 80% of the population is now vaccinated + Alert Level 3 = COMPLACENCY. And we know what will happen next,” Guido said.