Town reveals strategy to increase vaccination

VACCINATE & EDUCATE. Pototan Local Government Unit led by the Municpal Health Office maximizes COVID-19 vaccination drives to educate Pototanons of the importance of getting COVID-19 jabs. (Photo taken from Pototan RHU Facebook page.)

By Karen Joyce Pumaren

After topping consecutive vaccination accomplishment reports of the Iloilo Provincial Health Office, the town of Pototan, Iloilo unlocked its strategy to increase COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the municipality.

Dr. Rodina Mondragon, Pototan Municipal Health Officer, said that the simplification of COVID-19 vaccination process and barangay-based vaccination and information dissemination paved the way for the successful administration of COVID-19 vaccines in Pototan.

“We wanted to improve the accessibility of the vaccines to the people. So, what we did was we simplified the process of vaccination to make sure that people won’t be discouraged to avail of the vaccines and reached out to the citizens in the Barangays,” Mondragon said.

Simplification of vaccination process

At the outset of the town’s vaccination program, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Pototan noticed that delays and time lag during COVID-19 vaccination drives upset and discouraged Pototanons to get the jab.

To address the issue of the prolonged waiting period in the COVID-19 vaccination program, the LGU trimmed down the process of vaccination.

“The lesser the waiting time, the lesser the people are discouraged from availing the vaccine. For that, we trimmed down the process by focusing on the important details during the evaluation so that it will just take a few minutes for the assessment and they can directly proceed with vaccination. It’s just simplifying the process of vaccination,” Mondragon shared.

Fely Sosarno, a vaccinated Pototanon and a Barangay Health Worker (BHW), commended the immediacy of the vaccination procedure.

“Manami kay madasig lang ang vaccination. Siyempre ang mga pumuluyo masako ina, iban indi namagpavaccine kay basi madugayan kay may ginapanghikot pa. Pero tungod nga mahapos kag madali lang process nagaenganyo sanda magpabakuna,” Sosarno commented.

Barangay-based informational caravan           

Aside from procedure delays, the local government recognized that the growing misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccines triggered vaccine hesitancies among the citizens of the municipality.

“Hesitancies stemmed from misinformation, and it is challenging on our part to change the mindset of the people who are not really into COVID-19 vaccination,” Mondragon shared.

To combat the misleading misinformation, the municipal health office led by Mondragon conducted informational caravan services in the barangays of Pototan.

“We have these caravan services in the barangay where I get to speak to the people about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination. Some came to me and I got to counsel them and let them see the wider perspective of the need to be vaccinated,” Mondragon said

Mrs. Sosarno, as BHW, pointed out that the caravan helped the barangay officials to encourage their constituents, especially the elderlies, to get vaccinated.

“Mabudlay paintindihon ang mga tawo labi nagid ang mga senior citizens kung kami lang nga mga barangay workers ang maistorya. Sa caravans mapaintindi gid sa ila ang importansiya sang bakuna lalo na kay dali sila matapikan sang virus,” Sosarno said.

Barangay-level vaccination

Promoting the aforementioned approaches of the municipality is the Bakuna sa Barangay project of the Iloilo provincial government.

“The help provided by the provincial government, especially from the Iloilo Provincial Health Office, contributed to the increase of the numbers of the vaccinated individuals in Pototan,” Mondragon added.

The project furnished vaccines to the people of the barangay who can’t visit the Rural Health Unit of the town, the fixed site where vaccinations are administered from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

“Mas malapit mas maayo, indi na magasto ang tawo sang pamasahe kag sang tiyempo,” Sosarno said

Latest COVID-19 Vaccination Achievement

As of the first week of December, Pototan reached 65% percent of the target population vaccinated, with over 25,000 fully vaccinated and 37,000 partially vaccinated.

It is expected that the municipality will achieve herd immunity by the end of this month.

“The estimate percentage to achieve the herd immunity is 70% and with the population of Pototan, 82, 234, we expect, if things are gonna be okay, to achieve herd immunity this December,” Mondragon noted.

To forward the goal, the municipality vowed to improve and uphold the above-noted strategies.