TO OVERCOME Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy, the Cebu City Government is introducing various promotions including offering a house and lot and bringing vaccination sites closer to residents, while the Visayas Vaccination Operations Center assures that Sinovac and other vaccines administered in the Philippines are accepted for travel to the United States and Europe.
Acting Mayor Michael Rama said Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, that the City will launch on Monday, Oct. 18, a raffle draw for Cebuanos who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The prizes include a house and lot and a brand-new car.
Rama added that philanthropists will also give P100,000 worth of gift certificates to a hotel, P100,000 worth of scholarships, P100,000 worth of groceries and many more prizes.
Secretary Michael Dino’s Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas will also provide television sets and other prizes to encourage people to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Councilor Eduardo Rama was tasked by Rama to follow up on the house and lot, while Councilor Raymond Garcia was tasked by the acting mayor to come up with more gimmicks in the various barangays in Cebu City to encourage the people to get vaccinated.
Rama also announced that the City Government will expand its vaccination program by opening vaccination sites near cemeteries and in the open spaces of churches.
Vaccination at malls will continue, however, for those people scheduled for their first or second dose, Rama said.
Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, head of the City Health Department, said they would like to start next week, but they have not yet determined which cemeteries to prioritize as these would also have to be near hospitals.
Cebu City has more than 322,063 fully vaccinated individuals, while 4,631 minors have registered at Pabakunata.com. The vaccination of minors will still be pilot-tested in Metro Manila on Oct. 15.
Rama wants to vaccinate at least 700,000 of Cebu City’s one million residents to achieve herd immunity.
The acting mayor said the City has enough supply of vaccines from the national government to be used by those who want protection from Covid-19.
Over at the Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC), spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche urged local government units to focus the inoculation not only at the vaccination sites but to make the vaccination available through house-to-house schemes or at the barangay level.
There has been a low turnout of vaccinees in Metro Cebu, with the VVOC achieving only 17 percent of its weekly target for a first dose of the vaccine last week.
Loreche said that from Oct. 3 to 9, only 24,802 individuals in Metro Cebu received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine against the target of 144,250 vaccinees.
For the second dose, Loreche said only 21,303 got their second jab against the target of 33,328 individuals.
For Central Visayas, Loreche said only 25 percent or 1.433 million of the target population of 5.638 million had been fully vaccinated seven months since the Covid-19 vaccinations began.
To address the problem of vaccine preference that has caused vaccine hesitancy, Loreche said all vaccines administered in the Philippines, except for Gamaleya’s Sputnik, will be accepted in the United States and Europe starting November.
She said this is based on the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Under the guidelines, Loreche said the United States accepts Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccines such as Pfizer or Comirnaty, Moderna or Spikevax, and J&J Janssen.
It also accepts the WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines AstraZeneca or Vaxzevria, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
Europe, Loreche said, accepts Pfizer or Comirnaty, AstraZeneca or Vaxzevria, AstraZeneca/SK Bioscience Co, Covishield, J&J Janssen, Moderna, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
With this, Loreche said, there is no reason for the people to turn down a Sinovac jab.
The Philippines has received vaccines from Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Gamaleya, Janssen and Sinopharm.
Loreche said Central Visayas, which groups Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, received a new allocation of 99,360 doses of Sinovac on Oct. 11.
On Oct. 13, the VVOC allocated 29,280 doses of Sinovac to Cebu: Cebu City (12,400), Mandaue City (7,040), Lapu-Lapu City (2,952) and Danao Mitsumi (6,888). (PAC, KFD)