Vaccinations kick off in Davao, Cebu
Boxes containing 7,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines are set to be loaded into a Philippine Airlines aircraft for transport to Cebu yesterday.
STAR/ File

Vaccinations kick off in Davao, Cebu

Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Following the arrival of 600,000 doses of Sinovac last Sunday, the government proceeded to deliver vaccines to areas outside Metro Manila so other regions can begin their respective vaccination programs.

Yesterday, some 12,000 doses loaded in 20 boxes were brought to Davao City on Philippine Airlines flight PR8809. Upon arrival at the Davao International Airport, the vaccines were transferred to ultra-cold storage vans and delivered to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in preparation for a scheduled rollout on Friday.

SPMC acting head Dr. Ricardo Audan said he expects 150 health workers from SPMC, as well as frontliners from Davao Medical Center in Tagum City, will be vaccinated with the first batch of the Sinovac jab.

Meanwhile, 7,000 Sinovac doses in 12 boxes were airlifted to Cebu on flight PR1845. This batch was destined for Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and other hospitals. Local officials witnessed the arrival at Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

About 5,000 double doses of the Sinovac vaccine are also expected to arrive in Cagayan Valley on Sunday, according to Dr. Nica Taloma of the Department of Health Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.

This delivery is intended for 2,400 medical workers in Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao, 1,000 in Southern Isabela Medical Center in Santiago and another 1,000 from Region 2 Trauma Hospital and Medical Center in Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya.

As of March 1, confirmed COVID-19 infections in Cagayan Valley reached 8,797, with 615 active cases and 173 deaths.

Quite satisfactory

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the vaccination rollout in six hospitals in Metro Manila was “quite satisfactory.” About 756 individuals received shots against COVID-19.

“There was much pride and joy in seeing that at long last the health care workers are able to receive the vaccination and protection against COVID-19. It is heartwarming to witness the historic event,” Duque said.

For his part, special adviser to the National Task Force Ted Herbosa said that there was lack of trust in vaccines made in China at first but it changed with the “bandwagon.”

“After our town hall, we couldn’t make 50 volunteers for Monday’s vaccination. But after seeing doctors receive it, others also volunteered to be vaccinated,” he said, adding that the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) even had to turn away some people.

Malacañang also hailed the first day of the vaccination and called it a “success” after 700 PGH health workers opted to receive the vaccine.

“It was a success at least at the PGH where I witnessed it. There are some who expressed doubt. However, since there were 120 who got the vaccine, which was double the initial 70 individuals who wanted to be inoculated,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Jr. said in Filipino during a briefing yesterday.  –  Rudy Santos, Raymund Catindig, Christina Mendez, Shiela Crisostomo, The Freeman

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