MEDICAL workers employed in level 3 private hospitals in Cebu City will be among the next priority for the Covid-19 inoculations, a health official said on Friday, March 5, 2021.
Department of Health (DOH) 7 spokesperson and chief pathologist Mary Jean Loreche said healthcare workers in Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital,
University of Cebu Medical Center (UCMed), Perpetual Succour Hospital, Visayas Community Medical Center, and Southwestern University Medical Center will be included in the next vaccinations as 17,480 additional doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Cebu on Friday.
Aside from these Cebu City hospitals, the vaccines will be distributed to the level 3 private and government-run hospitals in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, Loreche said.
Level 3 hospitals are those that have hundreds of beds, a highly specialized staff and are fully equipped.
The additional Sinovac vaccines were immediately brought to the DOH 7 Cold Room upon arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport for sorting, inventory, and matching of the masterlist and allocation list before their distribution to the different hospitals.
The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, in a statement, said the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City, Bohol will be allocated 8,440 doses while the Silliman University Medical Center Foundation Inc. in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental will get 1,200 doses.
Loreche said based on the DOH 7 list, approximately 60,000 doses would be needed to vaccinate all healthcare workers in the region including those working in level 1 and infirmary hospitals.
The vaccine developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech is called CoronaVac.
The first batch of 7,200 doses of CoronaVac in Central Visayas arrived in Cebu on Tuesday, March 2.
The vaccines were administered to health workers at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and DOH 7 officials among others.
Retired Gen. Melquiades Feliciano, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID)-Visayas chief, who was among the first to be vaccinated during a ceremony at the VSMMC on Thursday, March 4, said he and Loreche are “living proofs” that it is safe to be vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine.
“So, I am enjoining everyone to be part of it,” he said during a briefing with Loreche held at the Visayas Vaccine Operations Center in Oakridge, Mandaue City.
He described his vaccination as similar to his experience when he took his flu and pneumonia shots in August 2020. He said he did not feel any adverse effects after the inoculation.
Feliciano was vaccinated along with VSMMC Chief Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., Dr. Juanito Tiu of St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital, Dr. Pythagoras Zerna of Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital and Loreche.
He said a total of 50 individuals in Central Visayas were vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine on the first day of the rollout.
For her part, Loreche said among the most common adverse effects of vaccination are headache, increase in blood pressure, a feeling of light-headedness and fatigue.
“But of course, if you experience worse effects than those such as rashes, allergies, and secondary to this, difficulty in breathing, then that’s another part of the adverse events that will require a really very close monitoring of your symptoms,” Loreche said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
“That’s why we have 30 minutes to monitor after you are vaccinated,” Loreche added.
Meanwhile, the second batch of vaccines donated under the Covax facility will be delivered to the Philippines after the first batch of 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine is consumed, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
“I was told by the World Health Organization that if we are not able to consume this, the second tranche will not arrive,” Galvez said in Pilipino after the arrival of the first Covax shipment on Thursday evening, March 4.
A total of 4.584 million doses of AZ vaccine have been allotted for the Philippines in the first round of allocations of the Covax facility.
Galvez said before the end of March, Sinovac will also send one million doses of the vaccine that were procured by the government.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who welcomed the AZ vaccines, thanked Covax for the donation.
He also urged Filipinos to get vaccinated, saying it is a necessary tool to overcome the pandemic and further open up the economy.
“We may not be out of the woods yet, but we are making progress and the end is in sight. With your cooperation, we will overcome this pandemic and ensure the health and safety of everyone,” said Duterte.
He assured that the government will immediately distribute the vaccines to the communities.
As of March 3, over 9,000 people have been inoculated using the Sinovac vaccine.
As of Friday night, Central Visayas logged 7,093 active Covid-19 cases. Cebu City recorded 3,453 active cases while Cebu Province logged 1,242 active cases.
In a press briefing at the VSMMC on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the recommendations of the IATF to Central Visayas include increasing of surveillance capacity of local government units, ensuring all close contacts be traced and isolated within 24 hours, conducting third generation contact tracing for cases positive for mutations with potential clinical significance, increasing isolation capacity for Cebu City, Cebu Province, and Lapu Lapu City, and increasing utilization of the temporary treatment and monitoring facilities in the region.
He noted that though cases in Cebu have gone up in the first months of 2021, Cebu City, in particular, has managed to maintain a manageable critical care utilization rate. (SunStar Philippines)