Over 3,700 senior citizens receive vaccine in 4 cities

·4 min read

IN JUST three days, a total of 3,747 senior citizens have been inoculated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay.

The biggest turnout was in Cebu City, where inoculations began on Monday, April 19, 2021.

As of Wednesday, April 21, the Cebu City Health Department (CHD) said 2,711 senior citizens have received the vaccine, or an average of 903 per day, in both vaccination sites at the Robinsons Galleria and University of Cebu (UC) Banilad.

On Wednesday alone, the CHD administered the Sinovac vaccine to 1,144 senior citizens, exceeding its target of 1,000 recipients for the day.

In Lapu-Lapu City, where vaccination of senior citizens started on Tuesday, April 20, a total of 528 were inoculated in the first two days, or 40 percent of the 1,280 targeted recipients this week.

“More senior citizens than frontliners agreed to receive the vaccine,” City Health Office head Dr. Agnes Realiza said Wednesday.

There are around 20,000 senior citizens in the city, based on the list of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (Osca), while there are only around 3,000 barangay health workers and other medical frontliners.

Realiza said only about 65 percent of the frontliners have been given the vaccine, lower than the Department of Health (DOH) standard to vaccinate at least 70 percent.

In Mandaue City, vaccination of senior citizens began Wednesday.

Subangdaku Barangay Captain Ernie Manatad, who is also the Mandaue City Vaccine Committee chairman, said a total of 299 senior citizens from barangays Subangdaku, Tabok and Cabancalan, were inoculated.

These barangays were the first barangays to complete their master lists of senior citizens who are willing to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Manatad said they were just short by one person of their targeted 300 recipients from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the first day.

In Talisay City, 209 senior citizens were given their first Covid-19 jabs on Monday, April 19. Vaccinations were halted on Tuesday and Wednesday to conduct maintenance work at the vaccination site in Brgy. Lagtang. Vaccinations will resume Thursday, April 22.

Adverse events

No reports of adverse events reached the City Health Office in Lapu-Lapu City, according to Realiza.

In Mandaue City, Manatad said the usual complaint was elevated blood pressure. But the cases were resolved.

“Now, so far, there were no serious adverse events,” he said.

He said the vaccination process was generally peaceful and orderly, except in the post-vaccination area at the Mandaue City Sports Complex, where a lot of vaccine recipients were monitored for adverse events at the same time.

Among the recipients were two to three senior citizens who just walked in without prior registration. They were still given the vaccine.

Manatad said each barangay has a staging area, where the senior citizens are asked to fill out a screening form and given a scheduling card before they are brought to the vaccination site.

Based on Mandaue City Office of Senior Citizens Affairs’ registration, there are 24,097 senior citizens in the city, but not all are willing to be vaccinated.

Other priority groups

Aside from senior citizens, medical frontliners and persons with comorbidities are also being inoculated in Lapu-Lapu City.

“We have imposed a first come, first served scheme since our vaccines are limited. Those who have not registered online may register onsite,” Realiza said.

Nagiel Bañacia, head of the Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, was dismayed by the low turnout among the barangay health workers.

“We might relieve you as barangay health worker and replace you with those who complied with the vaccination program,” he said.

Si Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan said it’s not too late yet to convince the other medical frontliners. He said it would not be fair to fire them on the basis of their refusal to get the vaccine.

“Well, we will encourage them. It’s a matter of education. The information may not have been properly disseminated,” he said.

Cebu City

Senior citizens who contracted Covid-19 comprised almost 14 percent of the 22,791 cumulative cases in Cebu City.

Based on Emergency Operations Center (EOC) data provided by Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, 3,133 senior citizens developed the disease from March 2020 to April 2021.

Of this number, 496 died, constituting about 60 percent of the 833 total mortalities in Cebu City.

Garganera, who is the EOC deputy chief implementer, encouraged senior citizens to get vaccinated.

They may register online at www.pabakunata.com or ask for assistance from their respective barangays. (JJL / WBS / GCM / JKV)