In Duterte hometown, only thing missing in vaccination is the vaccine
DAVAO CITY—Everything is ready, the only thing that’s missing is the vaccine, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said after the third of a series of simulation exercises being held here to prepare the city for the expected arrival of the coronavirus vaccines.
“Everything is already well-prepared, the only thing that’s missing here is the vaccine,” Nograles said at a press briefing at the Mabini Elementary School in Bangkal here, where a simulation of vaccine injections was held.
Carlito Galvez Jr., National Task Force COVID-19 Response Chief Implementor and vaccine czar, said he was impressed by the preparation at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), a prime COVID-19 facility here, whose health care workers would be among the first to handle the vaccine. “Even the most minute details of where to place the syringe after use has been taken care of,” Galvez said.
The activity prepared health care workers on handling the vaccines from the time that these arrive at the Davao City International Airport, their transport to the cold chain facility of SPMC, their transport from SPMC to Los Amigos Molecular Laboratory and to their transport from the molecular lab to Mabini Elementary School, one of several sites for vaccination in the city.
Earlier, Councilor Maria Joselle Villafuerte said authorities should get it right the first time to boost people’s confidence in the vaccines as quite a number of people nationwide still nurture distrust and fear of the vaccines.
Galvez, who flew in with Nograles and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, said the team was asked by President Rodrigo Duterte to look into the city’s preparation for the vaccine rollout, and assured that highly-urbanized Davao City, Duterte’s hometown, would not be left out in the vaccination program.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo assured the public that the FDA would approve only vaccines that are safe. “Safety is non-negotiable,” he said.
“We assure you that we will not approve if we are not sure that these are safe,” he said. “Safety first, then efficacy, if we release these for public use,” he said.
He also said that since all the vaccines that are being used were still under emergency use authorization (EUA), it meant that there were still some things about the vaccines that aren’t known yet. He said this was the reason that the FDA would continue to watch closely any possible adverse effects of the vaccines.
Domingo said Davao City would be linked to a system connected to the FDA, which would be connected to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other FDA counterparts around the world for the reporting of any possible adverse events.
The preparation for the vaccine rollout came after health authorities noted the decreasing trend of COVID-19 cases here following the surge of COVID-19 cases noted in the first week of January.
Dr. Ashley Lopez, Davao City COVID-19 focal person, said that COVID-19 cases peaked to as high as 801 cases from January 4 to 10, owing to the post-holiday surge, but the number of cases had tapered down to 300 in the first week of February to only 200 early this week.
As of Feb 13, the city registered a total of 12,237 cases, 1,306 of which remain active.
He said 10,533 COVID-19 cases, or 84. 69 percent of the total, recovered. The city’s recovery rate, however, remained below the national recovery rate of 93 per cent.
“But we are getting better compared to the previous months when we registered a recovery rate of as low as 68 percent,” said Lopez. “This started to go up to 70 to 75 per cent in February and now we have 84.69 percent,” Lopez added. “We are better now,” he said.
“I hope the downtrend will continue for Davao City,” Lopez added.
He said, however, that Davao City registered 598 deaths or 4.8 per cent of the total number of cases, which was above the 2.1 per cent case fatality rate registered in the national level.
Most of those who got sick were within the 22 to 28 and 32 to 38 age bracket, mostly the most mobile working population but most of those who died were within the 59 to 90 age bracket.
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