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Sinovac shots for Visayas, Mindanao health workers to be sent this week
A health worker receives the first Sinovac vaccine against the COVID-19 at the Lung Center of the Philippines in Manila on March 1, 2021.
AFP/Maria Tan

Sinovac shots for Visayas, Mindanao health workers to be sent this week

(Philstar.com) - March 1, 2021 - 6:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Some doses of Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine—the only jab available in the country at the moment—will be transported to Visayas and Mindanao within the week, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday.

The vaccination drive against COVID-19 started at six hospitals in Metro Manila, with health workers, government officials and uniformed personnel first in line to receive donated jabs from China.

Galvez said some of the 600,000 CoronaVac shots will arrive in Cebu City and Davao City on March 3 and 5, respectively.

“We will prioritize the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center with over 1,000 employees and the Southern Philippines Medical Center,” Galvez said in Filipino during a briefing.

He said extra doses from the Sinovac shipment could go to health workers in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Baguio City and other areas hit by COVID-19.

“The distribution will be equitable,” the vaccine czar said.

The government’s goal is to vaccinate 1.7 million healthcare workers across the country in March. But this ambitious target faces supply problems and public reluctance to get vaccinated. 

Medical frontliners have raised concerns over CoronaVac after the Food and Drug Administration did not recommend the jab to health workers exposed to COVID-19 patients. But the government later on allowed it to be offered to those willing to take it, maintaining it is safe and effective.

The government hopes to convince the people to take shots by inoculating Philippine General Hospital Director Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi and other heads of several Metro Manila hospitals.

Galvez, who also received his injection, called the vaccines “doses of hope” and urged Filipinos to get inoculated, saying it is their “moral obligation.”

The rollout came as the country logged for the fifth straight day more than 2,000 additional cases. To date, 578,381 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, including 12,322 deaths. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

COVID-19 VACCINE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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