DOH-7: We will accept any COVID vaccine brand that will arrive
CEBU CITY, Philippines—There are no definitive plans yet as to what brand of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines will be allocated for Cebu as far as the regional health office here is concerned.
But the agency assured that they are ready for their arrival, and that they will accept any brands the national government will be delivering.
“Actually, we do not have any definitive news on what brand is coming… Anything that will come will be given to our healthcare workers,” said Dr. Jaime Bernadas, director of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7).
“We don’t know what type of vaccine is arriving. But before anything will (arrive), we are prepared both for set-up and (arrival),” he added.
At least 2,900 healthcare workers from Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) were identified to be the first to administered with COVID-19 vaccines here.
This as VSMMC, and the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) are the only hospitals outside Metro Manila on the priority list of 34 hospitals of the Department of Health (DOH) for the initial vaccine rollout.
Dr. Juanito Zuasula Jr., head epidemiologist of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit here (RESU-7), also said their master list of all healthcare workers who will be the first to receive the vaccines in Cebu have been completed.
“We are all prepared regardless if it’s a Pfizer vaccine that needs ultra low refrigeration or the usual vaccines that need usual form of cold-chain management,” said Zuasula.
“We have also already masterlisted all our health workers and hospitals, conducted risk classification and who will receive the vaccines first and so on and so forth. Obviously, these will be the healthcare workers who will be working directly with residents, nurses and ancillary medical personnel working at our COVID wards,” he added.
The national government has initially scheduled the initial rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines nationwide last February 15, by introducing Pfizer’s BioNTech.
This was also the brand expected to be allocated in Cebu and to recall, during the days leading to February 15, concerned government agencies also conducted simulation exercises if it meant minimizing errors from transporting to administering the doses.
But on Tuesday, February 16, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said China-manufactured vaccines against COVID-19 will be the first to arrive in the Philippines this month, ahead of vaccines promised by the World Health Organization (WHO)-led vaccine supply pool COVAX.
In a briefing from Davao City, Roque said the Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech had committed 25 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines.
Those shots are apart from the 600,000 doses Sinovac has promised to donate and deliver to the Philippines on Feb. 23, Roque said.
The FDA has so far given emergency permits only to the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. AstraZeneca was issued an emergency use listing just on Monday by the WHO for a global rollout through COVAX. / with reports from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
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