Baguio, Cagayan de Oro test vaccine drive to spot bumps
BAGUIO CITY, Benguet, Philippines — About 200 doctors and nurses in private hospitals and clinics have volunteered to join reinforcement teams that would help the city in its rollout of vaccines against COVID-19.
The need for the standby vaccinators and a contingency plan emerged as local health officials started simulating the vaccine rollout on Monday.
Government doctors held the dry run at the University of Baguio, scheduling similar activities in smaller vaccine centers like a hospital and barangay health centers on Wednesday.
Baguio has prepared for emergencies, such as backup generator sets in case of power interruptions, a standby list of recipients when some do not turn up on their appointed vaccination date and a communication plan when vaccines are damaged or spoiled.
Among the COVID-19 vaccines the city expects to receive are 380,000 doses produced by British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.
“The vaccines to be given to us by the national government would be over and above the vaccines we are buying from AstraZeneca,” Mayor Benjamin Magalong said during a meeting with local officials on Tuesday.
The simulation included the process of transporting vaccines from the freezers to vaccination sites.
Baguio has two freezers capable of storing Pfizer vaccines which require temperatures as low as minus 70 to minus 80 degrees Celsius.
The city targets to inoculate about 190,000 residents, or 70 percent of its population.
In Cagayan de Oro City, local officials are preparing to inoculate as many as 7,000 people in a day when vaccines will be made available soon, imposing a high demand for logistics and personnel.
Dr. Lorraine Nery, the city health officer, said the principal need was for medical professionals, especially doctors, who would comprise the 70 vaccination teams organized by the local government. Each team is composed of eight members, including a doctor.
“We are tapping doctors in private practice to ensure that every vaccination site is properly manned by medical professionals,” Nery said.
The city is targeting to inoculate up to 600,000 residents as the Department of Health guidelines show that as much as 75 percent of the population must receive the vaccine to achieve herd immunity.
“This is, indeed, a herculean task,” said Dr. Ramon Nery, chief of JR Borja General Hospital, which is among the 16 vaccination centers in the city.
City health officer Nery said her office would look into lessons of the simulation exercise to see the viability of the inoculation targets it set.
Mayor Oscar Moreno said the city government was proceeding well with its preparations for the vaccination drive. He noted that health workers could already receive the jabs by March, and seniors by April.
—Reports from Vincent Cabreza and Ryan D. Rosauro
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