BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Bacolod City got an additional 10,000 doses of the China-made Sinovac vaccine yesterday that were immediately brought to the cold room facility at the Bacolod Government Center.
Acting city health officer, Dr. Edwin Miraflor Jr., said that last month the City received a total of 39,800 Sinovac doses from the national government.
With the shipment of additional vaccines yesterday, Bacolod was already able to receive 93,540 combined doses of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines from the national government since March.
As of July 2, the Covid-19 Vaccination Council, chaired by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, has administered a total of 68,954 doses of both Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines to Bacolod residents in the priority groups.
CASES STILL ALARMING
Leonardia recently reiterated his request for more vaccines as the number of local cases in Bacolod City is still alarming.
In a letter dated July 1, Leonardia told Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer and vaccine czar of the National Task Force against Covid-19, that the City needs more jabs to be able to accelerate the pace of vaccination and to move quickly through the priority groups.
The mayor emphasized that the city government is doing its best to contain the spread of the virus. Despite this, Bacolod is still “experiencing an alarmingly persistent surge of Covid-19 cases,” he stressed.
“Hospitalizations have hit record levels, and although we have recently added additional rooms and beds, our Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities are reaching full capacity,” he said.
He added that hospitals in the city are reporting staff shortages and “precipitous” declines in finances due to non-payment of PhilHealth claims.
HEALTHCARE WORKERS ACKNOWLEDGED
Leonardia also acknowledged the struggle of healthcare workers, who are already exhausted “to the point of breaking” due to the influx of patients since the start of the pandemic.
“In response to the surge, we are consistently implementing and strengthening the PDITR strategy, expanded Covid-19 testing, intensified contact tracing, limited large gatherings, and regulated inbound travel,” the mayor said.
Leonardia added that Bacolod is coordinating with the RIATF and NIATF, as well as local health facilities and medical societies.
He said vaccination is a “crucial strategy in ending this pandemic,” that is why additional doses would be of great help to improve the Covid-19 situation in Bacolod.
“Bacolod City was recently included as one of the NCR Plus 10 priority areas for vaccination, however, the only vaccine we have received after the announcement was a mere 7,800 doses last June 30. We have not received any additional vaccines thereafter. We believe that if we ramp up vaccinations, we will be able to significantly reduce Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations,” Leonardia said.
“It is our goal to vaccinate every Filipino. For this reason, the national government has procured or secured the supply of enough Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate one hundred percent of our adult population,” Galvez previously said.
He assured that Bacolod will be given enough doses to inoculate 100 percent of the city’s adult population and such shall be delivered “in accordance with the relevant existing laws, rules, and regulations.”
Executive director Em Ang of the Emergency Operations Center, meanwhile, said that those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter Bacolod without reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test results.
Ang said this is in accordance with the new guidelines released by the National Inter-Agency Task Force.
She said Bacolodnons who wish to travel outside the city will no longer be required to undergo RT-PCR test in the place of destination and will only be asked to show their vaccination cards as proof that they have already been fully inoculated.*