LGUs dangle food perks to convince seniors

FEAR that they would turn into zombies after receiving a vaccine is preventing adults 60 years old and over from getting the shot in the southwestern town of Moalboal in Cebu.

Only one in six senior citizens residing in Moalboal, or 500 out of 3,000, have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Mayor Paz Rozgoni told Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar in an interview on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.

To encourage the senior citizens to get their jabs, Rozgoni said she has started to give five kilos of rice, noodles and canned goods.

She said she will also visit all 15 barangays in the town starting next week to try to convince all adults to get vaccinated.

As of Sept. 13, Moaboal had 1,940 fully vaccinated individuals, while 1,316 individuals had received their first dose.

Giving incentives to senior citizens is the same playbook being followed by Mayor Noel Dotillos in Borbon, northern Cebu.

A senior citizen will get 10 kilos of rice and canned goods, as well as free transportation on the day that they are scheduled to receive their first dose.

As of Sept. 13, 1,069 senior citizens in Borbon have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

In Medellin, another northern Cebu town, the Municipal Government is also considering giving food incentives to vaccinated residents.

Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr., who is fully vaccinated himself, said he still has to discuss this with the Municipal Council. He was on his 12th day of isolation when interviewed on Sept. 13, having tested positive for the coronavirus earlier. His symptoms are mild.

In the meantime, he said they have intensified their information campaign on vaccination in the barangays. He is also eyeing to require all residents to get vaccinated.

Mondigo told SunStar Cebu that inoculations, which are conducted twice or thrice a week, have significantly decreased. The Rural Health Unit (RHU) has set a target of 400 vaccinees per day, but only an average of 30 individuals show up for vaccination.

The mayor said he and his parents were fully vaccinated against Covid-19. He said he completely believes in the efficacy of the vaccine since his parents, who are both in their 80s, tested positive for the virus last month and recovered. The mayor’s father is hypertensive while his mother has pneumonia.

Mondigo said the doctor had told them that his parents were saved from the virus through vaccination.

Medellin has vaccinated 7,000 out of its 60,000 residents. (MVE)