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A quick-count of vaccination rates across the Philippines, called VAX to the MAX, hopes to encourage vaccinations in the countryside and help their economies open up.
“Vaccination hesitancy remains high in the provinces,” said Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, who came up with the campaign.
He emphasized the need to speed up vaccinations in areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR). “If we are to save lives and jobs, we need to vaccinate at least 70 percent in all regions. We need to create Bakuna Bubbles not just in NCR, but the rest of the country. Being vaccinated is our weapon in winning this war. Vaccines protect us from severe infection and hospitalization,” he said.
Go Negosyo’s VAX to the MAX is a dashboard that uses a map of the Philippines to show vaccination rates in regions and key cities across the country. It shows the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated against COVID-19, and covers Regions 1 to 12, the NCR and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
The VAX to the MAX dashboard uses data from the Department of Information and Communications Technology, and is refreshed every one to two weeks. The first of the VAX to the MAX dashboards appeared in major Philippines dailies last October 31.
The dashboard shows at a glance how well the regions and major cities are doing in their vaccinations. A star is used to mark areas that have achieved 70 percent vaccination rate, a smiley face for those with 21 to 69 percent vaccination rate, and a dark expressionless face denotes those with 20 percent or fewer of their population vaccinated.
Concepcion likened the VAX to the MAX campaign to the NAMFREL Quick Count, the first election watch campaign which was established in 1983 and was accredited by the Commission on Elections to perform a parallel count of votes during the snap presidential elections in 1986.
With supplies of the COVID-19 continuing to arrive, the work of vaccinating the population has now shifted to addressing vaccine hesitancy and ramping up efforts by the LGUs to vaccinate their citizens.
Although the NCR has already achieved an 84+% target vaccination, a survey conducted last September by OCTA Research shows that vaccine hesitancy remains high in the provinces. The survey showed that 32 percent of those surveyed in the Visayas said that they will not have themselves vaccinated. In areas in Luzon outside of the NCR, the figure remains high at 24 percent, while in Mindanao, it is at 19 percent.
“We would like to support the government’s efforts to encourage vaccination not just in NCR but nationwide, so the local economy recovers, too. As more are vaccinated, more businesses can open up safely,” Concepcion said.
Vaccination rates are linked to economic incentives given by the government to local businesses. LGUs which have vaccinated 70 percent of their population are given an additional 20 percent increase in capacity.