Sinovac COVID-19 vax arrives in Bangsamoro Region

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021   •   364

The allocated batch of the donated CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has arrived in the region.

In a statement, the Bangsamoro health minister said 4,200 vials of Sinovac vaccines arrived on Thursday at the Cotabato Airport. Its arrival was welcomed by officials of the Ministry of Health and Maguindanao Provincial Health Office.

Dr. Amirel Usman, BARMM health minister, said the vaccines will be administered to 2,100 health personnel in the region.

The vaccination ceremony will be held on Friday, March 5, at the Integrated Provincial Health Office in Maguindanao.

Usman said this is for the first phase of the BARMM’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

Each health worker will receive two vaccine shots with a four-week interval from the first vaccination.

Usman emphasized that health workers in the region, who work both in public and private hospitals, including frontline workers in the ministries of social services, education, and local government, are the top priorities of the vaccination program.

Next are indigent senior citizens, Bangsamoro constituents, and uniformed personnel.

Usman, however, noted that this is still subject to change depending on prevailing situations.

“We have two types of COVID-19 vaccine – the one which can be stored in +2C to +8C refrigerator and the other can be stored in -70C. The challenge for Pfizer is, BARMM still has no capability to store -70C temperature right now,” he said.

Health workers, who are willing to get vaccinated, are advised to sign waivers. However, they also have the option if they prefer another Covid-19 vaccine such as Pfizer or AstraZeneca.

Usman, nevertheless, stressed that the available vaccine at the moment is the “best vaccine” for everyone, highlighting that the vaccination program is part of the government’s preventive measures against the virus.

Duterte wants LGUs to find people who missed 2nd COVID-19 vaccine dose

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday told local government units (LGU) to find individuals who have yet to receive their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

During his weekly “Talk to the People” address on Monday night, Duterte said LGUs should take measures to address the problem and convince those who have been inoculated with their first dose to complete their vaccination to get sufficient protection against coronavirus disease.

“Kindly help us ferret out persons who have not received the booster until now,” he said. “Paki ano lang kasi itong COVID na ito is a very toxic thing and it can contaminate you again.”

Duterte’s directive comes after a local epidemiologist involved in the government’s COVID-19 response estimated that around one million have yet to return for their second dose.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., however, refuted the statement and insisted that only 9 percent or 113,000 out of the more than 1.25 million vaccine recipients have missed their second shot.

Addressing those who have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, Duterte said they should follow instruction and get their second jab on schedule.

“Yung nabakunahan na sa first injection ninyo, kailangan kayo ng booster, the second injection. Please find time to go back and line up and show your card so that they would know that you are receiving the second dose,” he said.

“Ang protection ninyo is not complete without the booster,” he added.

He also urged the public to cooperate and continue observing minimum health standards as the vaccine is only an added protection.

“There is no guarantee, though it would give you a measure of protection. It does not guarantee you will not get COVID again. In spite of your vaccines and booster, please observe the basic protocols – mask, hugas ng kamay and social distancing,” he said.

“Matatapos din ito, especially with your cooperation,” he added.

The Department of Health on Monday reported that the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the Philippines has reached a total of 5,965,651 since the vaccination program started in March.

As of June 6, the number of individuals fully vaccinated against the disease has climbed to 1,544,332 while those who received their first doses reached 4,421,319

Duque urges LGUs to prioritize A4 workers aged 40-59 in COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday called on local government units (LGU) to prioritize the inoculation of individuals aged 40 to 59 under the A4 or the fourth priority sector in COVID-19 vaccination.

During his report to President Rodrigo Duterte in a meeting with some of the Cabinet officials on Monday night, Duque said LGUs should first vaccinate the said age bracket given the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country.

 “Hanggat sa maaari at kakayanin at dahil limitado pa rin po ang bakunang ating natatanggap, nananawagan po tayo sa ating mga local chief executives na bigyang prayoridad sa A4 ‘yon pong may edad na 40 years of age to 59 years of age,” he said.

 “Hanggat sa maaari, sila po ay uunahin within the economic frontliner priority group,” he added.

The government held a symbolic vaccination of A4 workers from the NCR Plus 8 areas on Monday. The A4 sector includes all government and private sector workers, informal sector workers, and those who work in private households who are required to physically report on site.

A4 previously included specific sub-groups of economic and government frontline workers like those in the business process outsourcing industry, teachers, vendors, lawyers, among others.

The government said the vaccination rollout of the A4 sector will be divided into two phases, prioritizing those from the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Pampanga, Batangas, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that essential workers aged 40 and above will be the first to get  vaccinated as they usually take maintenance medicine and are vulnerable to diseases.

He also said that the actual rollout of vaccination for A4 workers will start once the main bulk of the COVID-19 vaccine supply from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility has arrived in the country.

PH gov’t holds ceremonial COVID-19 vaccination of A4 priority group

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Monday held a ceremonial vaccination against COVID-19 for individuals under A4 group, which include government and economic frontline workers who are required to physically report for work.

The commitment ceremony and symbolic vaccination of A4 priority group was held in Pasay City.

The symbolic vaccination included A4 workers from the NCR Plus 8 areas, which are National Capital Region, Rizal, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, Batangas, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.

Around 50 individuals from various sectors including education, tourism, transportation, mass media, service and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry received their first dose of the vaccine on Monday.

Local chief executives from the NCR Plus 8 areas also joined Monday’s commitment ceremony “to heed the call of President Rodrigo Duterte in providing a quick and efficient mass rollout of the vaccination program to the A4 workers.”

The Inter-Agency Task Force earlier simplified the A4 priority group to include all government and private sector workers, informal sector workers, and those who work in private households who need to physically report on site.

A4 previously included specific sub-groups of economic and government frontline workers like those in the business process outsourcing industry, teachers, vendors, lawyers, among others.

The government said the vaccination rollout of the A4 sector will be divided into two phases:

Phase 1: A4 workers in NCR Plus 8

  • 1 – private sector workers who work outside their homes
  • 2 – employees in government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations and local government units
  • 3 – informal sector workers and self-employed who work outside their homes and those working in private households

Phase 2: A4 workers outside NCR+8

  • 1 – private sector workers who work outside their homes
  • 2 – employees in government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations and local government units
  • 3 – informal sector workers and self-employed who work outside their homes and those working in private households

With more supplies of vaccines expected to arrive this June, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is looking to jumpstart the safe reopening of the economy and provide protection for the country’s workforce, starting in areas with dense economic activity and high risk of exposure to COVID-19.

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