BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN / ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The Department of Health is sending 23,800 Sinovac doses to Negros Occidental and highly-urbanized Bacolod City today.
Negros Occidental will get 16,800 vials of Sinovac scheduled to arrive at the Bacolod-Silay Airport, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia also announced yesterday that Bacolod City will receive 7,000 more Sinovac vaccines, on top of the 10,000 doses the city received on Saturday.
Leonardia said the 17,000 doses are a big boost to the aggressive vaccination program of the city.
Daiz said that more vaccines will be given to local government units that are interested to have them, due to reports of hesitancy or reluctance of residents in some LGUs to get inoculated.
He said he asked Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, to issue an order to all city and municipal health officers to return all unused vaccines.
“We will transfer those to LGUs that will welcome them,” he added.
Diaz also said that the DOH requires the province to follow the schedule for the vaccination program, adding that a lot of people are now suffering from moderate to serious Covid-19 symptoms.
“Hospitals are now on the brink of getting full capacity, and the waiting line for admission to private hospitals will take a week,” he added.
“If the vaccines are being kept in refrigerators, we are depriving somebody a chance to be protected from the virus,” Diaz said.
Meanwhile, Leonardia lauded Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, and Department of Health Western Visayas director Emilia Monicimpo for keeping Bacolod in the priority list of the national government’s vaccination plan.
He assured that Bacolod’s local vaccination teams will continuously inoculate the people of the city at the fastest possible time, adding that the city government “salutes the men and women who have been tirelessly doing this noble job of vaccinating Bacolodnons in our desire to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible.”
As of June 4, the Emergency Operations Center said 37,150 Sinovac and the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered and 29,359 Bacolodnons received their first jabs while 7,791 have completed their vaccination doses.
Leonardia said that the general population, the private and the public entities are advised to assist in a massive information campaign so that citizens will not hesitate and have themselves vaccinated.
He also urged everyone to trust that the vaccines are designed to fight and overcome the further spread of Covid-19, and for the citizens to have a smooth transition towards “the new normal”.
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, who heads the local Inter-Agency Task Force, said that the vaccines that are arriving will be used to inoculate those who are under category A1, or the medical health workers, A2 senior citizens and A3 or persons with co-morbidities, who have not been vaccinated yet. Familiaran said there are no guidelines yet as to the inoculation of those belonging to the A4 category, or the essential workers, including teachers, media practitioners, and lawyers.*