Cebu News

600 VSMMC workers set for vaccination thursday: Sinovac vaccines arrive in Cebu

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman
600 VSMMC workers set for vaccination thursday: Sinovac vaccines arrive in Cebu
Department of Health (DOH)-7 chief pathologist and spokesperson said 7,000 more doses are expected to arrive in Cebu between March 4 to 8.

CEBU, Philippines —  At least 7,200 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine have arrived in Cebu on Tuesday, March 02, 2021, and were brought straight to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center where around 600 health care workers have agreed to get inoculated against COVID-19.

Department of Health (DOH)-7 chief pathologist and spokesperson said 7,000 more doses are expected to arrive in Cebu between March 4 to 8.

Up to 14,000 doses have been allocated for health care workers in Cebu but in a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, the country’s vaccine czar, Sec. Carlito Galvez, said the national government will add more doses for Cebu.

“Yung Region 7, padagdagan po natin kasi tumataas po kasi ang kanilang kaso po doon at tsaka may mga variants na po doon, so padagdagan po natin,” he said.

Dr. Gerardo Aquino, Jr., VSMMC chief of hospital, said they wanted to have 2,900 health workers to get the vaccine but several have expressed apprehension against Sinovac.

Loreche said that the doses that will not be used in Cebu will be given to other hospital health care workers in the region retained by DOH.

Dr. Van Philip Baton, DOH-7 medical coordinator for infectious diseases, called on the public to give the vaccine a chance as it work and proven to be effective, safe, and has saved lives.

He said vaccination is the only way for the country to achieve herd immunity once a large portion of the population is inoculated.

Dr. Junjie Zuasula, head of DOH-7’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, echoed Baton’ statement.

“Achieving herd immunity will take time. It will also depend on the supply of vaccines. But one thing is certain – we will achieve herd immunity in due time,” Zuasula said during a forum of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV).

Emotional Arrival

Retired Major General Melquiades Feliciano, Visayas implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force, had volunteered to be vaccinated on March 4.

He described the arrival of the vaccine at the Mactan Cebu International Airport as being emotional.

“Oo, medyo naging emotional dahil at long last, dumating. Diba, ito yung pinakahihintay natin? Masaya lang talaga, masaya, hindi lungkot,” Feliciano told The Freeman.

His wife, Mia, said on Facebook: “Cried happy tears. Light at the end of the tunnel.”

Feliciano said some doses will be given to workers in other government hospitals and, if there will be doses left, barangay health care workers can benefit.

He is hoping that vaccines from AstraZenica will finally arrive in the Philippines.

Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales of OPAV said Cabinet members and key IATF officials, including Galvez, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque will be in Cebu tomorrow, March 4.

Business Sector

Businessman Kenneth Cobonpue, chairperson of the Regional Development Council in Central Visayas, said the business sector is very eager for the vaccination.

Cobonpue said getting people vaccinated is one of the best ways to revive the economy further, especially in Central Visayas where travel and tourism play a huge role in people’s income.

But while the vaccines give a glimmer of hope, Loreche reminded the public to still observe minimum health protocols against COVID-19.

China Donation

Sinovac’s CoronaVac is the third COVID-19 vaccine brand, aside from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca, granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

At least 600,000 doses of the Coronavac arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, February 28. The vaccines arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on board a Chinese military plane.

President Rodrigo Duterte viewed the crate containing the vaccine doses and inspected the actual vaccine vials before the vaccines were transported in at least six 40-footer trucks to cold chain storage facilities that include the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and the Metropac Logistics in Marikina City.

In an earlier report, Sinovac is among three vaccines being considered by Cebu City for its own vaccination program alongside Novavax/Covovax and AstraZenica.

Novavax has a pending EUA application.

The city is no longer considering Pfizer-BioNtech, the first vaccine to be given an EUA in the country, mainly due to storage concerns. — Caecent No ot-Magsumbol, JMO (FREEMAN)


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