A model from contact tracing to mass vaccination: Baguio drives LGUs in CAR towards herd immunity

Baguio City takes center stage in the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic with its high vaccination and utilization rates nearly a year after being praised by the National Interagency Task Force and the World Health Organization for comparing the contract research system.
The city government, through its relevant offices headed by the city health services office, is leading all local government units in the Cordillera in the ongoing mass vaccination to reach 70% of the eligible population. in each LGU.
A recent bulletin released by the Cordillera Ministry of Health showed that Baguio has already surpassed the 70% target set by the national government when it posted a vaccination rate of 109.67% for those fully vaccinated. to December 24.
This, while Baguio has already fully vaccinated 277,849 people, especially when it opened its vaccination sites to people residing in the peripheral communes of Benguet but working in the city. Baguio’s initial target at the start of the deployment was over 190,000.
As of December 24, Baguio had also administered more than 16,000 booster injections, the highest among any LGU in the Cordillera, followed by Benguet with 6,284 booster injections administered.
Meanwhile, Ifugao, Benguet and Montagnes Province are lagging behind in their vaccination program.
DOH-CAR records show Ifugao fully vaccinated 48.20% of the target population of 148,444, while Benguet inoculated 50.41% of the target population of 338,754.
Mountain Province, on the other hand, has already inoculated 64.23% of the 110,189 eligible residents.
Abra leads all provinces with the highest fully immunized population with 93% of 173,928 people targeted, followed by Apayao with 74.61% of 87,310 people targeted, then Kalinga with 63.72% of 155 people. 094 people.

Baguio Vaccination Best Practices Shared:
Several factors contributed greatly to the success of mass vaccination of Baguio City through the CHSO and its government and private sector partners.
Most important is the high adherence to equity value. This means that the city government gives a bonus to all health workers and the elderly, as they are given priority at all times in the vaccination program.
Prior to the vaccination rollout, the CHSO set a target and the target was to vaccinate over 85% of the eligible population and exceed the national target of 70% to achieve herd immunity, which was eventually qualified protection of the population.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong emphasized the value of teamwork, according to Dr. Donnabel Tubera-Panes, chief of CHSO’s City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.
One of the highlights of the teamwork in the ongoing immunization roll-out was the launch of mobile immunization during which CHSO staff, with assistance from barangay health response teams, reaches people such as disabled, elderly, people with special needs in their respective homes. for their vaccines, as they are unable to reach designated vaccination sites, mostly located in the central business district.
Conducting the mobile vaccination has also inspired other health units in various LGUs to replicate the program.
The abundant supply of vaccines from the national government also bolstered the rollout in the city, which also purchased AstraZeneca vaccines for its residents. Some of the purchased vaccine was shared with other LGUs.
There were no manpower issues at vaccination sites as health workers are supplemented by trained personnel from the private sector, such as Baguio Country Club, Philippine Export Zone Authority, Baguio-Benguet Public Information and Civic Action Group Philippines, Inc., 911 On-Appel, and administrative staff of higher education institutions.
Personnel from the Baguio City Police Bureau, government hospitals, the Philippine Military Academy, and DOH-hired vaccinators are also contributing to the deployment.
The CHSO also receives support from information technology experts through the Baguio Inoculation Digital Application website to monitor immunization, breakthrough infections, and validation of immunization records.
Mr. Panes added that the timely allocation of financial resources to hire additional manpower, food for the vaccinators and overtime pay for staff members greatly contributed to the success of the program. vaccination.
“There are also clearly defined roles and functions for each member,” said one of the city’s top immunization program officials.

Keeping the Omicron variant at bay:
At the close of the 71st Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament with Baguio as the host of the benchmarking of the resumption of amateur golf tournaments in the country, Magalong announced to attendees that the largest and longest amateur tournament has been cleared by the national IATF due to the city’s breakthroughs in its response to Covid-19.
He said that although the Omicron variant has yet to cross city borders, he expressed hope that the city and its partners will implement the protocols it has implemented to suppress the spread of the Delta variant in the locality in less than two months.
The CHSO recorded an increase in the Delta variant in September, but the city managed to keep the worrying variant at bay by mid-October.
Nothing is impossible to keep any worrying variants at bay in this hill station, as relevant officials have noted that a disciplined Baguio population is one of the main reasons the city remains a model in the fight against Covid. -19 on the home front. – Harley F. Palangchao