3 cities roll out Sinovac vaccines
Healthcare workers at the Ospital ng Makati (Osmak) were the first to receive Sinovac jabs, led by its medical director Dr. Vergel Binay.
Sinvac, File

3 cities roll out Sinovac vaccines

Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - March 6, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The cities of Makati, Caloocan and Navotas yesterday kicked off their COVID-19 vaccination programs, using the jabs made by Chinese drug firm Sinovac Biotech.

Healthcare workers at the Ospital ng Makati (Osmak) were the first to receive Sinovac jabs, led by its medical director Dr. Vergel Binay.

““To tell you frankly, I experienced fear of vaccination just like other healt frontliner… Because it’s Sinovac. In the past several days the vaccine has been surrounded by scandals, politics and rumors,” he said in Filipino in a speech.

Binay considers the arrival of Sinovac’s vaccines as an “answered prayer.”

“With Sinovac now here… I have decided that the fear of vaccination would be replaced by the fear of having more people dying and suffering,” he said.

He also called the Sinovac vaccine a “solution we are waiting for, a symbol of reconciliation.”

Like public health and government officials, Binay explained the Sinovac vaccine uses the inactivated virus, triggering the body to produce antibodies once it is injected.

Mayor Abby Binay, who witnessed the ceremonial inoculation, said that 392 Osmak employees registered to receive the Sinovac vaccine a week after the city government launched a website where interested residents could sign up for vaccination.

The number was more than the 300 doses of the Sinovac vaccine received by Osmak, she added.

A total of 237 Osmak personnel were injected with the Sinovac vaccine as of 3:45 p.m. yesterday, according to the city government.

The mayor declined to be vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine to give way to healthcare workers.

National Task Force against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer and testing czar Vince Dizon, who was also present, announced Osmak would also be given doses of COVID-19 vaccine made by European drug firm AstraZeneca that arrived in the country on Thursday night.

In Caloocan City, 149 out of the 457 personnel of the city-run Caloocan City Medical Center (CCMC) signed up to receive the 300 doses of the the Sinovac vaccines.

Among the first to get injected were CCMC administrator Dr. Fernando Santos and city health officer Dr. Evelyn Cuevas, with their inoculation witnessed by Mayor Oscar Malapitan and Sen. Francis Tolentino.

Meanwhile, the vaccination program at the Navotas City Hospital (NCH) yesterday was done without fanfare, as no ceremonial vaccination was held and no official was present.

NCH’s chief of clinics Dr. Roan Salafranca received the first Sinovac dose, followed by around 100 other healthcare personnel of the hospital.

NCMH starts inoculations

In Mandaluyong, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) yesterday started vaccinating its healthcare workers against COVID.

Four NCMH officers led by medical center chief Dr. Noel Reyes were the first to receive the Sinovac jabs. Around 100 medical personnel received their first doses while 200 will get their jabs today.

Mayor Menchie Abalos, who was present during the ceremonial vaccination, urged residents to register for the vaccination program.

The other officials present during the vaccination are Abalos’ husband,  Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos, Health Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzala and other local government officials.

The NCMH was among the institutions in Mandaluyong that was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with 266 confirmed cases. Of the number, 19 died while 247 recovered from the virus.

Abalos said the city government will start vaccinating its healthcare workers today after receiving 300 doses of Sinovac jabs.

The symbolic vaccination will be held at the Mandaluyong City Medical Center at around 9 a.m. Among those expected to receive the vaccines are MCMC director Zaldy Carpeso , administrative officer Dr. Cesar Tutaan and pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Carpeso.

Mandaluyong had at least 7,336 COVID-19 cases with 226 deaths. – Emmanuel Tupas

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