CEBU CITY, Philippines — No one left behind.
This was what health workers and employees of the Rural Health Unit (RHU) in Medellin town in northern Cebu demonstrated in their fight against the pandemic when they delivered COVID-19 vaccines to residents on an island off mainland Cebu.
The local government of Medellin, on social media, said they were able to give the shots to at least 250 residents in the island-barangay of Gibitngil Island when their Municipal Health Office set up a ‘One Day Vaccination’ hub there last August 5.
“Across the rough waters under the scorching heat to Gibitngil island and climbing half concrete – half limestone flights of stairs, the resilient team of doctors and nurses from the RHU led by MHO (municipal health officer) Dr. Oliver Gimenez set up a one-day vaccination hub at the covered court in Purok Pasil in the island barangay of Gibitngil,” portions of the post read.
Gibitngil Island, which is also a popular tourist destination known for its diving spots and several watersports activities such as kayaking and cliff diving, can be accessed from Medellin town by a 20-minute boat ride. It has a population of around 2,100 individuals, according to the 2020 census report.
“Everyone, everywhere should benefit from safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines especially those geographically, isolated and disadvantaged areas,” Gimenez, Medellin’s health officer, was quoted as saying.
Medellin is a second-class municipality located approximately 120 kilometers north of Cebu City.