Private sector signs MOA to help with government's vaccination program

·4 min read

TWENTY vaccination sites, which are on private properties, will be used to help ramp up the vaccination program in Central Visayas.

The private sector under the Project Balik Buhay (PBB) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Monday, March 29, 2021, supporting the national government’s vaccination program.

The vaccination partners of the PBB include Chong Hua Hospitals, Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital, Visayas Community Medical Center, Mendero Medical Center, University of Cebu Medical Center, ARC Hospitals, SM, Robinsons Land Corp., Toyota Team Cebu, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., Visayan Electric, Archdiocese of Cebu, Sacred Heart School and University of San Carlos.

The vaccination center medical partners of the PBB include Cebu Velez General Hospital, Perpetual Succour Hospital, St. Vincent General Hospital, University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society, LH Foundation Inc. and Bayanihan Cebu.

PBB chairman Edmun Liu said the hospitals pledged to provide services at vaccination posts.

Liu said partners from medical groups will help provide staff who will be in charge of screening and inoculating individuals and monitoring vaccinees.

He said the sites will be activated once the government starts vaccinating those under Priority Code A3, or persons with comorbidities.

He said the PBB will adhere to the guidelines and priority list of the Department of Health (DOH).

Liu said owners will not charge for the use of the 20 private vaccination sites.

“We, in the private sector, have been tasked to support, whatever we can, the efforts of the national government,” he said. “We are willing to donate the use of private properties at no cost to the government, at no cost to the Cebuanos, all shouldered by the private sector,” he added.

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said this development will enable local government units to vaccinate more individuals.

Bernadas said the regional office will still be able to monitor the number of individuals who receive the vaccines since the DOH 7 and the PBB will have an integrated system from the registration to monitoring.

Liu said the PBB also partnered with a company in charge of the data system that will store the data of those who register for the vaccination.

He said a software called Vital has been developed which “will cover the whole spectrum” of the vaccination program.

Vaccinees will also be given a contact number which they can reach should they experience adverse effects after the vaccination.

Liu said the PBB will also be in contact with human resource officers of companies that join the vaccination program of the PBB for the monitoring of their employees.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 chief pathologist and spokesperson, said that as of Sunday, March 28, the region has received 110,760 vaccines of which 80,760 are Sinovac vaccines, while 30,000 are AstraZeneca vaccines.

Based on the updated Priority Code A1, or the frontline health workers masterlist, 56,726 of the 117,493 who registered for the vaccination have received the first dose of the vaccine, or 48.28 percent, as of Sunday, March 28.

Loreche said all frontline health workers should be inoculated within the Holy Week.

Loreche said after the medical workers, senior citizens will be vaccinated next.

“We hope that we should be able to finish the vaccination of our health care frontliners or those of priority A1.1 to A1.7 before the end of the Holy Week so we can proceed already with the senior citizens,” Loreche said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Bernadas said there are individuals who do not want to be inoculated with either the Sinovac vaccine or the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In this situation, Bernadas said they will be the last to be vaccinated should they change their minds.

“They will have to wait their turn after everybody else is vaccinated,” he said in Cebuano.

The same rule will be applied to the other sectors, he said.

Bernadas said the DOH 7 noted a slow vaccination rollout in some municipalities of Cebu Province, but it should catch up during the Holy Week.

He said Cebu City has yet to ramp up its vaccination rollout after it asked for additional doses last March 26.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bryan Lim, an infectious disease specialist, said now is the time to conduct mass vaccination in Central Visayas, especially since the DOH 7 has observed a “better” case management of the Covid-19 situation in the region.

Lim said this must be done to prevent another surge in Covid-19 cases.

PBB co-chairman Kenneth Cobonpue echoed the observation of Lim, saying it is a challenge both for the private sector and the government to complete the vaccination program.

“We are in a race against time,” Cobonpue said. (JJL)