TACLOBAN CITY - The town of Matuguinao in Samar, once infested by communist rebels, now holds the honor of being the first municipality in the province to attain 70 percent coverage in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination, the regional health office here said late Tuesday.
As of November 30, the town's health workers managed to administer Covid-19 vaccines to 3,816 individuals, representing 70.4 percent of the 5,420-target population, according to the Department of Health (DOH) 8 (Eastern Visayas).
About 26 percent have received complete doses.
"Mayor Aran Boller strategized in encouraging its constituents to receive their shots by giving free packs of rice to those being vaccinated," the DOH-8 said in a statement.
The strategy has encouraged residents to flock to vaccination sites despite the distance from their houses.
About 1,604 residents remain unvaccinated and the local government hopes to cover some of them on the last day of the three-day national vaccination drive on Wednesday.
"Congratulations to all the vaccination teams and all the other volunteers from the different partner agencies who made this achievement possible," the DOH added.
Matuguinao used to be a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area and was only accessible via a six-hour boat ride.
However, since the completion of the road network funded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in 2017, the town could now be reached through a 45-minute land trip from a major highway.
Matuguinao is a fifth-class town in Samar province with a population of 7,743 people.
The town is 105 km. from Tacloban City, the regional capital.
Of the town's 20 villages, 12 were previously considered hotbeds of the New People's Army. (PNA)