BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, encouraged yesterday local government units, especially the cities, to purchase biomedical refrigerators for the vaccines that are coming.
Tumimbang also called on LGUs to identify the vaccination sites, adding that they will be difficult to manage if there are many.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson earlier assured LGUs, especially lower class municipalities, of the availment of Covid-19 vaccines. He said the three million doses he asked from the national government is enough to cover “everybody”, except those in the age gap between zero to 18.
Tumimbang, who discussed with Lacson and Dr. Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian of the Provincial Incident Management Team the plans and actions for the vaccination of Negrenses, said that the provincial government will rent refrigerated vehicles, and buy cold transport boxes, for the transport of vaccines to the 31 LGUs.
He added that the LGU purchase of biomedical refrigerators, with temperature range of positive 2 to positive 8, is a big help for them in the preservation of vaccines, since such equipment can be of further use to store other vaccines, aside from Covid-19.
“The cold storage is very critical to the vaccines,” Tumimbang said, and he admitted that the vaccination of 70 percent of Negros Occidental population, that is about 1.5 million Negrenses, is a big challenge for them.
If there is a shortage of vaccinators, Tumimbang said that midwives can be used in the massive vaccination program.
The PHO initially earmarked P1 million to rent refrigerated vehicles and buy medical coolers.
Tumimbang also said that they will initiate a simulation with one of the LGUs to determine how fast they can deploy, or undertake the vaccination program, including logistical requirements, such as syringes and needles, alcohol and cottons, and the needed manpower. The provincial government has purchased 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, on top of the vaccines they will get from the national government.*