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A year after first local case, San Juan starts vaccination
Three hospital personnel were the first to receive Sinovac jabs yesterday as a prelude to the CSMC’s mass vaccination of workers tomorrow, exactly a year after admitting the first case of community transmission in the country.
AFP/Yaksin Akgul

A year after first local case, San Juan starts vaccination

Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - March 4, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Two days before the hospital marks a year since handling the country’s first local COVID transmission, Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) in San Juan has begun vaccinating its health care workers.

Three hospital personnel were the first to receive Sinovac jabs yesterday as a prelude to the CSMC’s mass vaccination of workers tomorrow, exactly a year after admitting the first case of community transmission in the country.

Cardinal Santos Medical Center chief medical officer Dr. Zenaida Javier-Uy said they were targeting to inoculate 1,000 health workers, with 61 percent of the CSMC’s pool of physicians willing to take the China-made jabs despite their expectation to receive Pfizer’s vaccine.

“A good 61 percent of our doctors confirmed for vaccination despite the fact they were all expecting the Pfizer vaccine. But when we said Sinovac, 61 percent said yes,” she said during the vaccination rites.

Human resources chief Maria Louzel Diaz, orthopedics department chair Dr. Edgar Eufemio and internal medicine chief resident Dr. Sergie Fernandez received the jabs.

Eufemio was responsible for collaborating with the local government and Xavier School in setting up the Kalinga Center quarantine facility. Fernandez, meanwhile, was manning the emergency room at the height of the pandemic.

Diaz, who made sure hospital staff were fed and sheltered during lockdown when transportation was very minimal in Metro Manila, said she volunteered to get vaccinated to boost the confidence of hospital employees and health workers.

Mayor Francis Zamora, who was at the time quarantined at the CSMC after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday, said an initial 300 doses were expected to be delivered to the hospital yesterday.

“The vaccine rollout comes at a very significant time as almost one year ago, March 6, 2020, the DOH confirmed to me that the first local transmission in the Philippines was a patient from Cardinal Santos Medical Center,” he said in a statement sent to reporters.

A 62-year-old man from Cainta, Rizal who had not traveled outside the country tested positive for COVID-19 on March 5 last year and was admitted to CSMC, making him the first recorded case of local transmission. His wife also tested positive for COVID-19, making her the second local case.

The pair were transferred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for treatment, where they died due to health complications brought by the virus after more than a week of battling the disease.

“Now, one year after, our vaccination process has begun, which I believe will be the game changer in our fight against COVID-19,” Zamora added.

COVID-19 VACCINE
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