Covid shots for health workers, not LGU execs

·4 min read

NO LOCAL government officials will be inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine yet as all 7,200 doses in the first batch that arrived on March 2, 2021 are intended for healthcare workers, the Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) clarified.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, issued the clarification Wednesday, March 3, after two Cebu City councilors said they were willing to be vaccinated to build trust in the vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Except for Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) deputy chief implementer for the Visayas Melquiades Feliciano, Loreche said all vaccinees at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) on Thursday, March 4, will be medical frontliners.

“No for non-health care. Not yet,” Loreche said in a text message to SunStar Cebu.

As of Tuesday, March 2, only 768 out of the 2,987 healthcare workers at the VSMMC have registered for vaccination. They will be led by medical chief Dr. Gerardo Aquino.

The 7,200 doses that arrived Tuesday will, however, vaccinate 3,600 individuals. The Sinovac vaccine is given in two doses four weeks apart to clinically healthy persons 18 to 59 years old.

The Cebu City Council, through a motion made by Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia during the regular session Wednesday, requested DOH 7 to allot the remaining doses to frontliners of the Cebu City Medical Center and City Health Department as well as to government personnel in barangay health centers who are involved in Covid-19 response field operations.

In a press conference also on Wednesday, Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera said he, infectious disease specialist Bryan Lim and some members of the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will get their first dose of the Sinovac vaccine on Thursday.

Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak was also quoted in a SunStar Cebu report as saying that he will be among those who will receive the vaccine.

Both councilors said they want to build vaccine confidence, especially since public acceptability of Sinovac is low. The Sinovac vaccine, or CoronaVac, is an inactivated vaccine developed by Sinovac Life Sciences in China.

“Sa pagka karon, ang pinakamaayo nga vaccine ang kanang naa nato nga vaccine (As of now, the best vaccine is the one that is available). This will, at least, prevent severe symptoms and death,” said Garganera.

Garganera said the vaccine will help lessen the probability of getting hospitalized and developing severe symptoms of Covid-19.

Vaccination drive

In Metro Manila, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said a total of 2,793 people have been inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine as of Tuesday evening, March 2.

The vaccination campaign against Covid-19 was launched on Monday, March 1, at the UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Center and Sanitarium, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Philippine National Police General Hospital and Victoriano Luna Medical Center, all in Metro Manila.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said 756 people, mostly medical frontliners and uniformed personnel, were vaccinated.

Leading the list of vaccinees were PGH Director Gerardo Legaspi, testing czar Vince Dizon, Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo and Galvez.

On Tuesday, March 2, symbolic vaccination was held at the Pasig City General Hospital, Pasay City General Hospital, Sta. Ana Hospital, Lakeshore Vaccination Hub, Marikina City Sports Complex and in various military hospitals.

On Wednesday, March 3, the vaccination campaign was launched at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center, The Medical City, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City and Bonifacio Global City, and Valenzuela Medical Center.

Healthcare workers

Galvez said the list of registered vaccine recipients among healthcare workers include 202,182 in Luzon, 51,140 in the Visayas and 94,540 in Mindanao.

“On the first day, there were very few takers, only about 13 percent requested. Since then, we have had requests from congressmen and mayors who want vaccine allocations for the hospitals in their areas,” Galvez said in a television interview Wednesday.

In the Philippine National Police (PNP), over 300 medical frontliners have been vaccinated, according to PNP deputy chief for administration Guillermo Eleazar.

Eleazar said a total of 125 police frontliners were inoculated on March 1 while another 180 received the shots on Tuesday, March 2.

Of the 305 vaccinees, three experienced mild adverse effects after immunization such as skin rashes at the injection site.

Eleazar said 80 police personnel were not eligible for vaccination on Tuesday due to medical reasons, but may return for another screening.

Some 800 vaccine doses for 400 people were allotted to the PNP’s medical frontliners, who take care of policemen with Covid-19.

As of Tuesday evening, the PNP had a total of 11,420 Covid cases with 31 deaths, 10,926 recoveries and 463 active cases.

A donation of 600,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine from China was the first to reach the Philippines on Feb. 28.

Of the 600,000 doses, 100,000 were donated by China to the military. On Tuesday, the national government sent 7,200 doses to the VSMMC in Cebu City and 12,000 doses to the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. (WBS, JJL / TPM / SunStar Philippines)