By Joseph B.A. Marzan
Despite the availability of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine boosters across the region, latest data from the Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-WV CHD) indicated that the number of persons who received the booster shots remains low.
As of Oct 5, 2022, only 925,931 booster shots have been administered, which include 27,629 adolescents (12 to 17 years old), 755,515 adults (18 to 59 years old), and 142,787 senior citizens (60 years old and above).
This figure represents only 18.8 percent of the total number of fully vaccinated persons in their age groups who are qualified for booster shots (4.92 million), and 18.9 percent of the combined target population for their age groups (4.89 million).
Breaking down the number of fully vaccinated persons per age group, only 3.64 percent of adolescents (757,306), 21 percent of adults (3.6 million), and 25.13 percent of senior citizens (568,068) got the booster shots.
From the number of “boosted” adults and senior citizens (898,302), only 85,422 or 9.51 percent had their second booster shots.
If second booster shot numbers are broken down vis-à-vis the first booster shot figures, this only accounts for 8.68 percent of boosted adults and 13.9 percent of boosted senior citizens.
Iloilo province leads in all age groups after logging the most number of administered booster shots including 10,511 adolescents, 216,411 (first shot) and 14,241 (second shot) adults, and 44,093 (first shot) and 4,548 (second shot) senior citizens.
For booster shots among adolescents, Negros Occidental is second with 3,962, followed by Capiz (3,423), Aklan (3,280), Bacolod City (2,195), Guimaras (1,599), Antique (1,520), and Iloilo City (1,139).
For the first booster shot for adults, Iloilo City follows Iloilo province (139,628), then Negros Occidental (132,250), Bacolod City (79,585), Aklan (64,886), Capiz (63,445), Antique (40,434), and Guimaras (18,876).
Negros Occidental ranks second in second adult booster shots (12,672), followed by Iloilo City, (11,532), Aklan (9,487), Bacolod City (6,346), Capiz (6,335), Antique (3,327), and Guimaras (1,687).
For the first senior booster shots, Negros Occidental (24,970) is second, then followed by Iloilo City (21,861), Bacolod City (14,882), Capiz (13,132), Aklan (12,838), Antique (7,555), and Guimaras (3,456).
As to second booster shots, Negros Occidental had 3,449, followed by Iloilo City (3,187), Bacolod City (2,800), Capiz (2,346), Aklan (2,137), Antique (931), and Guimaras (397).
Daily Guardian has reached out to DOH-WV CHD spokesperson Dr. Daphynie Teorima to ask for the reasons for the low booster rates, but she has yet to respond as of this writing.
Currently, Western Visayas has 5.29 million fully vaccinated persons, consisting of 1.13 million children and teenagers and 4.17 million adults and senior citizens.