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Day 1 of Cebu’s COVID-19 vaccination: 50 to 70 frontliners from Sotto receive Sinovac

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | March 04,2021 - 05:45 PM

Day 1 of Cebu’s COVID-19 vaccination: 70 frontliners from Sotto receive Sinovac

Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., chief of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), receives his first dose of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine on March 4. | via Morexette Marie Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines  –– Cebu on Thursday, March 4, has officially kicked off its initial coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine rollout, barely a year after the first confirmed cases of the infection were reported in the country.

Thursday’s COVID-19 vaccination event was the first for the entire Visayas-Mindanao area.

A ceremony participated by national and local government officials was held at the Behavioral Sciences Building at Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) which was temporarily used as the hospital’s COVID-19 Vaccine Operations Center.

Healthcare workers of VSMMC, Central Visayas’ largest COVID-19 referral hospital, are the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccines in Cebu and in the entire Visayas region.

Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., the hospital chief, became the first medical frontliner to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

His first dose of CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine brand of China’s Sinovac, was administered by Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo.

He was joined by other hospital chiefs including Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of DOH in Central Visayas (DOH-7), Dr. Juanito Tiu of St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital,  and Dr. Pythagoras Zerna of Eversley Child Sanitarium and General Hospital.

Retired General Mel Feliciano, deputy chief implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) in the Visayas, was also inoculated with Sinovac on Thursday.

In a post-vaccination briefing, Loreche said around 50 to 70 medical workers from VSMMC received their first dose of Sinovac on Thursday.

Aquino, during the same presser, said a total of 1,245 hospital workers as of March 3 have submitted their informed consent, expressing willingness to be vaccinated with Sinovac.

He also said they were expecting the numbers to increase as the days would progress.

“As of March 3, 1,245 of our personnel already gave their informed consent to receive the vaccines. And we are still expecting more to join,” said Aquino in a mix of English and Tagalog.

These figures account for around 43 percent of VSMMC’s workforce population of close to 3,000.

Loreche also said they were targeting to vaccinate at least 500 healthcare workers from VSMMC per day after Thursday’s ceremony.

Aside from VSMMC, other DOH-ran hospitals here in Cebu were also expected to receive the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.

Aquino said they had received an initial list containing names of healthcare workers from ‘substitute hospitals’ who wanted to volunteer in the government’s COVID-19 inoculation campaign.

These hospitals are St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital, Eversley Child Sanitarium and General Hospital, and Cebu South Medical Center (formerly Talisay District Hospital).

“We will be submitting these lists to the national office so they can monitor the number of medical frontliners here in Cebu who will be participating in the vaccine drive,” said Aquino in Cebuano.

“As far as Sotto is concerned, we already have enough vials for two doses. This is why we have substitution lists for healthcare workers from other hospitals who are qualified to receive the vaccines,” he added.

At least 7,200 doses of CoronaVac arrived in Cebu from Manila last Tuesday, March 2. Another 7,800 vials from the same brand are also expected to arrive here this March 8.

These are part of the 600,000 COVID-19 vaccines that the Chinese government donated to the Philippines.

Also present on Thursday’s ceremonial vaccination was Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who also announced in a press briefing that 9,077 medical frontliners already received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination since the national government started the rollout last Monday, March 1.

Cebu and Davao are the only areas outside Metro Manila that formed part of the government’s priority in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccines. /dbs

READ MORE: ‘1,245 and more’ VSMMC workers OK with Sinovac

READ MORE: 8,559 individuals get COVID-19 vaccines in PH so far — Nograles

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TAGS: CoronaVac, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, Sinovac, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, VSMMC

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