GENERAL SANTOS CITY: Local health authorities are targeting to start within the next two to three days the inoculation using Sinovac vaccines among over 3,000 priority health care workers in the city.
Dr. Ryan Aplicador, deputy incident commander of the City Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases, said Friday they are all set for the rollout of the vaccination, which will be conducted in six referral hospitals in the area for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.
He said they expect the delivery of the vaccines anytime on Saturday based on an advisory from the Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12.
A total of 17,940 vials of Sinovac vaccines for Region 12 (Soccsksargen) arrived before noon Friday at the Awang airport in Maguindanao and were brought to the cold storage facility of the DOH-12 in Cotabato City.
“We will start the vaccination either on Sunday or Monday, depending on the availability of the recipients,” Aplicador told reporters.
The City Health Office, in coordination with DOH-12, conducted Friday a series of simulation exercises in preparation for the vaccination activities.
At least six vaccination sites were established within the compounds of the city’s six Covid-19 referral facilities – the local government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital (DJPRH), St. Elizabeth Hospital, General Santos Doctor’s Hospital, Socsargen County Hospital, Mindanao Medical Center,
and GenSan Medical Center.
The local government has set up a cold storage facility for the vaccines at the city gymnasium in Barangay Lagao.
Aplicador, who is also the hospital chief of the DJPRH, said they successfully simulated at least two scenarios for the actual vaccination, specifically with the vaccines already available on-site and another with the supplies coming from the cold storage facility.
He said they also tested the screening process and accurately detected hospital personnel who has just recovered from Covid-19 and ineligible from getting the vaccine for 90 days.
The official said about half of the 542 identified priority DJPRH workers for the vaccination have already signified to get the vaccines.
He admitted that some are still having second thoughts and preferred the other vaccine brands.
“We’re continually encouraging our workers to get vaccinated now and expect that number to increase once we start with the inoculation,” he said.
In South Cotabato, Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) chief, Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., said they also ready to receive the first batch of the Sinovac vaccines and the conduct of the vaccination.
The IPHO has listed a total of 1,838 health care workers from five Covid-19 referral hospitals in the province as eligible to get the shots.
This comprised medical professionals and staff members of the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital, Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center, Allah Valley Medical Specialist Center, Howard Hubbard Memorial Hospital, and the Soccsksargen General Hospital.
“The vaccination will not be mandatory and will only involve those who would formally signify to receive them,” he said.
But Aturdido said they have been encouraging all eligible health care workers to get vaccinated to ensure their protection from Covid-19.