GENERAL SANTOS CITY: A total of 6,733 frontline health care workers in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) have already received the Sinovac vaccines during the initial vaccination rollout that started early this month.
Arjohn Gangoso, health education and promotion officer of the Department of Health in Region 12 (DOH-12), said Monday the number of vaccinations represents 75 percent of the eligible 8,967 medical professionals and staff members of 23 referral hospitals for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients in the region.
Gangoso said the seven-day inoculation of the first batch of recipients in the region ended on Sunday, March 14.
North Cotabato posted the highest coverage at 93.65 percent or 413 of 441 priority health care workers, followed by this city with 84.96 percent or 2,666 of 3,138, Sarangani with 81.85 percent or 275 of 336, South Cotabato with 79.16 percent or 1,455 of 1,838, Sultan Kudarat with 69.24 percent or 745 of 1,076, and Cotabato City with 55.14 percent or 1,179 of 3,138.
Gangoso said some of the recipients have experienced side effects due to the vaccination but were considered minor.
“It was successful overall as it exceeded our expectations in terms of the turnout,” he told reporters here.
Rural health units or local health offices earlier reported low acceptance rates for the vaccine among the target health workers, but the figures significantly improved during the rollout.
Dr. Sharir Dulduco, DOH provincial officer for Sarangani and this city, said they expect more health care workers to participate in the next round of inoculations.
Region 12 received around 18,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines for the initial rollout targeting priority health workers.
An additional 35,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived last week for the second batch of recipients, who will be inoculated from March 16 to 22.
Based on DOH guidelines, Dulduco said all unused vaccines would be returned to the cold storage facility of their regional office in Cotabato City.
“We are still waiting for instruction from our central office if they will be used in the next inoculation activities,” he said, adding that they expect the arrival of additional Sinovac vaccines before the start of the second vaccination round involving the first recipients on April 5.