The Department of Health and the National Task Force for COVID-19 recently announced the roll-out of vaccination in the country. The goal for vaccine high uptake and acceptance is a challenge at this crucial time, thus, it is imperative that partners and champions are needed to serve as talking heads and advocates.
In a bid to generate demand for vaccination services and increase vaccination uptake among priority eligible groups in Caraga Region, the Department of Health Center for Health Development – Caraga through the Health Education and Promotion Unit launched a Virtual Stakeholders’ Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccination last 3 March 2021 via Zoom live. This event is one of the virtual COVID-19 Town Hall being conducted by DOH CHD Caraga which aims to multiply champions by providing various sectors information about the vaccination program. The Town Hall also serves as a platform to clarify the questions surrounding vaccines.
Ms. Romelyn Esther C. Torralba, Health Promotion Unit Head of DOH CHD Caraga, opened the program with discussion on the “10 Must Knows” about the COVID-19 Vaccine Program. The aim of the program is to save lives and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic specifically, to launch a national vaccination program against COVID-19, and to provide free and effective, high quality vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, prioritizing those most-at-risk and most vulnerable populations.
Among the 10 Must Knows was the important question on why do we need to get vaccinated. Ms. Torralba answered this through explaining the benefits of vaccine and the need for us to achieve herd immunity. In order to achieve herd immunity, at least 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated. Expert groups for the procurement and delegation of vaccines were also explained. Ms. Torralba demonstrated that a certain vaccine brand must go through the Vaccines Expert Panel, Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC), National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), and the National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee. Among the vaccine brands in the market that are granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Philippine FDA are AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sinovac. Vaccination Procedure for the program was also presented in otder to clearly visualize the process of getting vaccinated in a particular locality (See figure below).
Ms. Ma. Jazmin M. Sarce, Nurse V and Regional National Immunization Program (NIP) Coordinator of DOH CHD Caraga, explained the vaccination program in the regional level. She reiterated that the goal of DOH is to establish a unified command, control, coordination, communication, and cooperation mechanism to ensure the implementation of COVID-19 vaccine trials, procurement and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine, and immunization of priority eligible population. Ma’am Sarce also presented the regional readiness of Caraga in its service delivery; training; monitoring/supervision; vaccines, cold chain, and logistics; and safety surveillance and response; demand generation, social mobilization and communication. Simulation activities for the for program were already conducted in the region in areas of CHO Surigao City, Butuan Doctors Hospital, Butuan Medical Center, CHO Butuan City, Kitcharao Rural Health Unit (RHU), Nasipit RHU, Tubay RHU (ADN), San Francisco RHU. Priority hospitals were also already identified for the SINOVAC vaccination.
Ms. Phoebie Demata – Buque of DOH CHD Caraga, also discussed the vaccination campaign entitled, “RESBAKUNA: Kasangga ng BIDA! The overall goal is for all Filipinos to understand and support the COVID-19 vaccination implementation, and for all targeted vaccines to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. A floor plan was being laid out in order to have safe and organized vaccination in the region (see figure below). IEC materials are also being produced in order to disseminate the information to a wider population.
To help us spread the campaign, below are the links for you to access the pamphlets and other IEC materials:
Informational Pamphlet- bit.ly/PamphletBlue
FB Frame Poster – bit.ly/RESBAKUNAFrame
AVP on 10 Things to know on COVID-19 Vaccination – bit.ly/RESBAKUNA10Things