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Public cooperation needed for vaccine success: mayor

Mayor Evelio Leonardia during his webinar presentation*

Vaccination is the only way to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, that is why public cooperation with the program is necessary, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, said.

This was among the major issues raised by Leonardia during the Liveable Cities Challenge webinar titled, “Getting Cities Ready for the Vaccines”, and organized by LCC chairman Guillermo Luz recently.

Aside from Leonardia the webinar, attended by 500 officials, also featured mayors Joy Belmonte of Quezon City, Abby Binay of Makati City, and Richard Gomez of Ormoc City.

Leonardia said people should be more open about getting vaccinated as the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines is expected soon, a press release from the city said.

“They should allow themselves to get vaccinated because without their cooperation and their acceptance, and if they don’t embrace this vaccination programs, where else do we go?” Leonardia added.

The webinar is a continuation of a series that aims to equip officials with knowledge and insights for designing better solutions for their communities in view of the pandemic.

VACCINATION PROGRAM

In his presentation, Leonardia said that Bacolod targets to vaccinate 68 percent of its total population, or 424,992 out of 624,987 residents.

The remaining 32 percent is comprised of 18 years old and below, who cannot be vaccinated.

There are 40 vaccination centers identified in the city, and each center has a daily maximum target of 500, or an estimated 20,000 individuals a day if the program goes full speed.

Leonardia also highlighted the strong public-private partnership in the city, as shown by several offers from private sector members to use their facilities as vaccination sites.

Several medical schools and organizations have also expressed their commitment to augment the vaccination manpower of the city, the mayor added.

Bacolod was among the first cities in the country to negotiate for its own Covid-19 vaccines. It has already reserved 650,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to kick off its vaccination program, making it among the top five cities in the country with the biggest vaccine orders, together with Davao City, Quezon City, Makati City, and the City of Manila.

Aside from AstraZeneca, Leonardia is also negotiating with other pharmaceutical companies that are developing vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019.

INSPIRING SURPRISE

He also said the assessment that Bacolod is the most prepared LGU among cities and provinces in Western Visayas, based on their Covid-19 vaccination plans submitted to the Department of Health 6, is “an inspiring surprise”

With a rating of 75.9 percent, Bacolod has the “highest readiness” among LGUs in the region, followed by Capiz at 53.4 percent, and Iloilo province at 43 percent, DOH-6 infectious disease cluster head, Dr. Mary Jane Roches Juanico, said.

“This is an inspiring surprise. We simply submitted our Vaccination Roadmap without knowing there was a DOH ranking system. Our unity and teamwork is paying off. I thank Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and the councilors for their support. City Administrator Em Ang and the Vaccination Council members are laudable. We continue to appeal for the cooperation of our people in the implementation of our vaccination program,” Leonardia said.

DOH ASSESSMENT

The DOH’s readiness assessment was based on thematic areas, that include planning, budgeting, prioritization and targeting, system capacity for handling cold chain, logistics and ancillary supplies for Covid-19, service delivery capacity, surveillance response, and demand generation activity, the press release said.

Juanico said LGUs in Region 6 “struggle” in the areas of targeting, demand generation, and demand prioritization.

REGISTRATION

Leonardia said residents must register to be vaccinated, either online at tinyurl.com/bcdceironline or in barangay offices.

A cold storage facility is also being set up at the Bacolod City Government Center to accommodate about two million vaccine doses at a time. After starting the vaccination simulation exercises, the city is now implementing a massive information and awareness campaign to build up public confidence and acceptance of the vaccines.*

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