By Noel Punzalan
COTABATO CITY: Some 8,000 residents of Tawi-Tawi have so far been inoculated with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine.
Dr. Bashary Latiph, of the Ministry of Health – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM), said the national government has earlier allotted 30,000 doses of the single-dose vaccine for Tawi-Tawi, the BARMM’s island-province situated in the country’s southern border.
“Considering its distance from mainland Mindanao, the national government has earlier made the vaccine allocation for the farthermost province of BARMM,” said Dr. Latiph Bashary, BARMM health minister, on Monday.
He said the initial batch of the Janssen vaccines was rolled out on July 23 where 8,000 of the island’s 213,776 target population have already been vaccinated.
He added that the vaccine would also be rolled soon in Tawi-Tawi’s municipalities of Sitangkai, Turtle Island and Mapun Island, all borders of Malaysia and some islands of Indonesia.
“We have to strengthen the immune system of constituents in the island municipalities of Tawi-Tawi amid fortified border control measures to prevent the entry of the dreaded Delta variant from the neighboring southern countries, especially Indonesia, which has already become the new epicenter of virus surpassing India,” he said.
The highly infectious Delta variant is driving the surge in cases in Indonesia and Malaysia and several other neighboring Southeast Asian countries.
In the Philippines, 55 additional cases of Delta variant have been detected for a total of 119.
In a report, Dr. Sangkula Laja, provincial health officer and chief of the Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital, said those immunized with the initial batch of the single-shot vaccine were from the A1 (medical workers), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with co-morbidities) groups.
In the past months, he said very limited doses were allotted to Tawi-Tawi. It was the first time that they received substantial doses of vaccine that can accommodate 30,000 people.
Tawi-Tawi is situated some 500 kilometers from this city, the provisional seat of the BARMM government.
Philippine News Agency