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More provinces, cities to receive vaccine supply

Health workers in hospitals handling COVID-19 cases in Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Bicol and parts of Visayas set to get Sinovac shots
/ 05:04 AM March 04, 2021

PREPARATION Iloilo City has started preparing for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines through a simulation exercise for its vaccination drive on Wednesday. The city government is waiting for its vaccine supply from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca. —PHOTO COURTESY OF ILOILO CITY GOVERNMENT

Health workers and other front-liners in the fight against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the provinces will be first in line to get vaccinated as several regions get their allocations of vaccines donated by China starting this week.

Thousands of doses of CoronaVac, the vaccine manufactured by the Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, had been delivered to the cities of Cebu and Davao on Tuesday in time for the start of their vaccination drives on Thursday and Friday.

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In Cagayan Valley, Dr. Rio Magpantay, regional director of the Department of Health (DOH), said the region would get 5,312 doses of vaccines on Sunday.

Magpantay said storage facilities for the vaccines were readied at the DOH regional office and Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City. Southern Isabela Medical Center in Santiago City in Isabela province and Region 2 Trauma and Medical Center in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, were also tapped for vaccine storage.

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Medical front-liners in these hospitals will be the first to get inoculated with Sinovac vaccines, he said.

Cordillera front-liners

In the Cordillera, 3,608 medical workers in five major hospitals in the region have been prioritized to get the shots on Sunday.

The biggest batch of doctors and nurses who are eligible for the first jabs is at Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), with 1,871 on the list.

BGHMC has been one of the primary facilities dedicated to COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Two hospitals in Mountain Province, which have treated most of the region’s patients who contracted the United Kingdom variant of the disease, are also receiving the Sinovac vaccines.

Luis Hora Regional Memorial Hospital has signed up 629 employees for the vaccination, while Bontoc General Hospital has prioritized 222 health workers.

Standby list

Benguet General Hospital in La Trinidad, Benguet, targets 560 medical workers for the vaccine. It has also treated COVID-19 patients with the British variant. About 326 employees of Kalinga Provincial Hospital also expect to get vaccines on Sunday.

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Health authorities said 8,800 health-care front-liners serving in hospitals, infirmaries and barangay health centers needed to be immunized against COVID-19 in the Cordillera.

During a virtual conference on Monday in Baguio City, the DOH required government doctors to prepare another list of health workers should some of the target beneficiaries decline to take part in the vaccination program.

Policemen and soldiers have yet to be included in the second list.

But should police personnel be pushed up the line, doctors and other members of the police force who have medical training would be prioritized, said Police Col. Allen Rae Co, Baguio police chief.

Some health workers had declined or were hesitant to receive the China-made vaccine due to its reported low efficacy rate and after the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was not recommending Sinovac shots for medical front-liners handling COVID-19 patients and for the elderly. In Bulacan, Gov. Daniel Fernando said 926 doses of Sinovac vaccine for medical front-liners would be delivered to the province on Sunday.

But Fernando said only half of 833 health workers who earlier agreed to get inoculated would be willing to receive the jab.In Bicol, the DOH said 11,700 CoronaVac doses will arrive in the region on Thursday.

Dr. Rita Ang-Bon, the DOH Bicol COVID-19 vaccine program coordinator, said the vaccines would be given to health workers in four government hospitals serving as COVID-19 treatment and isolation centers.

These are the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City with 2,292 employees up for vaccination, Bicol Medical Center in Naga City (2,132), Bicol Region General Hospital and Geriatric Medical Center in Cabusao town in Camarines Sur (767), and Naga Imaging Center Cooperative Doctors Hospital (651).

Inoculation in the Visayas

In Western Visayas, Dr. Mary Jane Juanico, head of the infectious disease cluster of the DOH regional office, said the region this week would receive more than 16,000 doses for 8,000 health-care workers.

Medical front-liners in six COVID-19 referral hospitals in the region would be prioritized to get the shots.

She said the rollout of the bulk of the vaccines was expected in the second or third quarter of the year. Iloilo and the Negros provinces, including the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo, would be prioritized in the rollout due to their big population, she added.

In Bacolod City, the DOH has prioritized for vaccination on Sunday health-care front-liners at Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital and Riverside Medical Center, the city’s primary hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

In Tacloban City, Mayor Alfred Romualdez said he expected the vaccines to arrive in his city soon.

The vaccines will be stored at Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, the largest government-run hospital in the region, and Divine Word Hospital, a private hospital in Tacloban.

“I think this [vaccine] will help us. This is what we have [right now],” said Romualdez, adding that he would get the Sinovac shot.

—REPORTS FROM VILLAMOR VISAYA JR., VINCENT CABREZA, CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE, MAR ARGUELLES, NESTOR BURGOS JR., JOEY GABIETA AND CARLA GOMEZ

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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