More Sinovac doses for Region 7 arrive

Le Phyllis F. Antojado (The Freeman) - March 6, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — At least 17,480 more doses of Sinovac vaccines for medical frontliners arrived in Cebu for Region 7 on Friday, March 5, 2021.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist and spokesperson of the Department of Health (DOH)-7, said the vaccines will be given to medical staff in level three private and public hospitals.

“Sa atong allocation sa niabot nga 17,480, actually, this will involve the private and government also,” Loreche said.

Of the new shipment, Cebu City will get additional 9,183 doses while Cebu Province will get 4,954 new doses.

Other areas in the region will also get their share – 6,576 for Bohol; 28 doses for Siquijor; and 2,735 for Negros Oriental.

Like in Cebu, these will be for medical frontliners for now.

“If you look at it, ang total number of healthcare workers nato nga naa sa hospitals, including sa infirmaries, we really need two doses already, a total of around 60,000 doses,” Loreche explained.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-7, which was in charge of logistics, have sought the help of the Office of the Presidential Assistance for the Visayas (OPAV) in transporting the vaccines from Cebu to the other areas in the region.

The PNP Maritime Group-Regional Maritime Group-7 helped bring the vaccines to Bohol while the Philippine Navy helped bring the vaccines to Negros Oriental.

More doses are expected to arrive for level two and level one hospitals, as well as for isolation facilities.

The first batch of 7,200 Sinovac vaccines arrived in Cebu on March 2, primarily for health workers at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center. At least 500 VSMMC workers were inoculated as of Friday.

Extra vaccines from VSSMC will be distributed to other health facilities managed by DOH.

“We will use that with the substituted master list for other DOH maintained hospitals namely, Eversely Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital and St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital and of course Talisay District hospital,” Loreche said.

In Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for keeping the government’s promise of prioritizing Cebu in the vaccine roll out.

“Salamat ni Presidente Duterte. Salamat usab ni vaccine czar (Sec. Carlito Galvez) that among the many local government units outside Metro Manila, ang Cebu City ang gitagaag priority,” Labella said.

Reaction to vaccine

Retired Major General Melquiades Feliciano, the IATF Visayas chief implementer and vaccine czar in the region, said no adverse effects were noted among those who received the vaccine at VSMMC.

Feliciano said he is happy that even those who hesitated in getting the Sinovac vaccine at first eventually decided to get inoculated.

“Sa tanan, no, nga medyo nag-hesitate, kaming duha ni Doc Jean (Loreche) diri are a living proof nga okay ra gyud ang magpa-vaccine (and with Sinovac), so we are encouraging everyone to have themselves vaccinated,” Feliciano said.

Feliciano and Loreche joined other hospital staff for the ceremonial rollout of the vaccination program in Region 7 on March 4.

Loreche, for her part, said she has not felt any adverse effect even after almost 24 hours since getting vaccinated.

“I don’t feel any untoward events even after vaccination. It’s been almost 24, except sa a little pain sa injection side. I don’t have nausea, vomiting, or feeling of weakness, headache… wala siya,” Loreche said.

She said seven of those who got vaccinated experienced mild effects but these effects are normal from any vaccine.

Loreche said DOH-7 Director Jaime Bernadas would have wanted to get vaccinated but could not get it as he is already 62 years old.

“He really wanted to. As a matter of fact, we even had to submit a personal letter request to the central office na to allow him to be vaccinated, but then again, the answer was no kay again based on the guidelines, it’s only up to 59 years of age,” Loreche said.

The Duterte Administration is prioritizing healthcare workers in its vaccination program as they are in the forefront of the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Bong Go, assured the public that they have nothing to fear as the vaccines are proven safe and effective.

Go also urged government agencies to intensify the education drive in a whole-of-nation approach to boost vaccine confidence through a clear vaccination roadmap. — Caecent Noot-Magsumbol/JMO (FREEMAN)

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