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5.6 million eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in Region 7

Workers from VSMMC to receive Sinovac

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | March 01,2021 - 03:51 PM


CEBU CITY, Philippines—Health officials in Central Visayas on Monday, March 1, 2021, confirmed that China’s Sinovac will be the first batch of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines to arrive in Cebu.

Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit head (RESU-7) Dr. Juanito Zuasola Jr. and Department of Health spokesperson (DOH-7) Dr. Mary Jean Loreche announced in a press conference that they are expecting Sinovac to arrive here between Wednesday (March 3) and Thursday (March 4).

Loreche, for her part, said healthcare workers from Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) are the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines for Cebu. 

“So far, the allocated doses for Cebu are for our healthcare workers in Sotto. And the number of doses to be sent here are equivalent to the number of Sotto workers who will be part of the inoculation program times two – since that’s two doses per individual,” said Loreche in a mix of Cebuano and English. 

Zuasola said they are still finalizing the official master list of healthcare workers from VSMMC who will be administered with COVID-19 vaccines. 

However, during the same press conference, Zuasola confirmed that some of the hospital’s personnel refused to receive the shots. 

“There are really a lot who expressed doubts and fears towards getting the vaccines, regardless if these are from Pfizer or Sinovac. We cannot specifically identify what’s their behavior and perception towards the vaccine but VSMMC alone, it’s not a 100 percent approval,” he explained in Cebuano. 

It can be recalled that around 2,900 healthcare workers from VSMMC, the largest, state-ran COVID-19 referral hospital in the region, were identified to be inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines.

Read: VSMMC healthcare workers to get first COVID vaccines in Cebu 

This meant that around 5,800 doses of Sinovac vaccines are expected to arrive this Wednesday or Thursday. 

Loreche said healthcare workers are not required to have themselves vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“We must all remember that inoculation is a choice. This is why you have an informed consent. Having said that, if you do not agree to be vaccinated by a particular brand, that is your right,”  said Loreche.

“As a healthcare worker, you can go to the next step. If there’s another vaccine brand that will arrive and is your preference, we honor that,” she added.  

The Chinese government donated a total of 600,000 doses of CoronaVac, Sinovac’s vaccine brand, and was delivered last Sunday, February 28.

With this development, the country has started the initial stages of its COVID-19 inoculation program. 

DOH-7, as of March 1, identified at least 5.6 million individuals in Central Visayas qualified to receive COVID-19 vaccines. 

“We also have 4,973 vaccination teams and a total of 9,945 as manpower. All in all, we have 1,944 vaccination posts in the region,” added Loreche. 

AztraZeneca, Pfizer in the pipeline 

In the meantime, the government also said the other vaccine brands aside from Sinovac will be delivered to the Philippines, including Cebu. 

“We have other vaccine brands in the pipelines. This include AstraZeneca, which was supposed to arrive this week but was delayed. We have no other information to the exact time of its arrival. And also Pfizer,” said Retired Gen. Mel Feliciano, Deputy Chief Implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) in the Visayas. 

Cebu is part of the priority areas for the national government’s COVID-19 inoculation program. 


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TAGS: Covid-19 vaccine, Region 7, Sinovac, VSMMC

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