The Philippines Vaccine update: older people left further behind and punished for it.
The Global Platform is continuing to keep an eye on COVID-19 vaccine coverage data for different age groups. For many countries, this information is not made public. For the Philippines it is, and can be accessed here: https://doh.gov.ph/covid19-vaccination-dashboard
Here is a screenshot of that site, taken on 15 January 2022.
On the basis of these data, we have developed our own table.
The total population aged 60 or more in the Philippines is 12.3 million. This means 0.6 million people aged 60 or more have not received a single dose and 5.5 million (45% of this age group) have yet to receive a second one. While 600,000 older people in The Philippines are yet to receive a first dose, over 197 million doses have been given to people at younger ages who are not frontline health workers. On 12 January 2022, it was reported that the Philippines government has ordered 10 million additional vaccine doses to meet the needs of people aged between five and 11 years old (https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1539387/ph-ordering-10m-million-vaccines-for-5-11-years-old).
In some countries, it is claimed that older people are afraid or reluctant to be vaccinated. This is unlikely to be the case for the 4.9 million people aged 60 or more in the Philippines who agreed to receive one dose, but who are yet to get a second. Rather than recognise that this lack of coverage is primarily due to his own government’s failure, President Duterte is now claiming that the fault lies with these older people and is calling for strict sanctions against the unvaccinated. These include bans on using public transport, and orders to stay at home or face arrest ( https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/07/philippines-duterte-orders-arrest-of-unvaccinated-people-who-violate-stay-at-home-orders).
Official data show that people aged 60 and over have accounted for around two-thirds of deaths attributed to COVID-19 (https://doh.gov.ph/covid19tracker).
Many older people remain completely or only partly vaccinated against COVID-19.
This is not due to a lack of vaccines: many more doses have been given to groups who have a lower vaccine priority.
It is evident that most older people who are yet to receive a second dose have no objection to doing so.
Rather than recognise that this situation is the responsibility of his government, President Duterte is imposing draconian penalties on those who remain unprotected.