Vaccination of health workers in Iloilo City to start March 8

PHOTO CAPTION: With the 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine expected to start arriving in Western Visayas today, March 4, healthcare workers here in Iloilo City might find themselves getting the protective shots as early as Monday. However, plenty of them are still undecided or even downright opposed to getting inoculated with the China-made serum./iNEWS

ILOILO CITY–The vaccination of healthcare workers in the city of Iloilo against the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using the recently-arrived Sinovac vaccines from China could start as early as Monday, March 8.

This was confirmed by Richard Saltin, the designated spokesperson for COVID-19 concerns of the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC), following a meeting with the Department of Health here in the region recently.

According to Saltin, the DOH-6 has said the vaccine allocation for Western Visayas is expected to continually arrive here today, March 4, until Sunday, and vaccination among healthcare workers could commence immediately afterward.

To note, Western Visayas is among the regions that got a share of the 600,000 Sinovac vaccines that were donated by China to the country recently.

He said the hospital is now in the process of doing a survey of their personnel as to who among them are willing to be inoculated with the China-made vaccine. It will not be mandatory.

WVMC SURVEY

In the WVMC survey that was conducted sometime last month, only 899 out of their 1,995 healthcare personnel, or a mere 45% of those surveyed, were willing to be vaccinated and only with either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines.

Those figures could drastically change now that it’s the Sinovac vaccine that is available at the moment.

According to experts, the efficacy rate of Sinovac in preventing mild and moderate cases is only at 50.4%, although the China-made vaccine scored a perfect 100% in preventing the occurrence of severe cases among COVID-19 patients.

Earlier, the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declined to recommend the use of Sinovac among healthcare workers, saying the risk is greater for them to get infected by the virus owing to the nature of their jobs, but later did a 180-degree turn by reiterating the importance of getting inoculated no matter the brand of vaccine.

The other referral hospitals in the region that are expected to get a share of the first batch of Sinovac vaccines soon are the West Visayas State University Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, Iloilo Doctors Hospital–all in Iloilo City, and the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital and Dr. Pablo Torre Memorial Hospital, both in Bacolod City.

AMPLE TIME TO DECIDE

Meanwhile, Dr. Ella Mae Divinagracia of St. Paul’s Hospital Iloilo also confirmed the possibility of them starting the vaccination of their health workers on March 8.

According to her, they have already sent letters to the different departments of the said hospital to ascertain the number of those who agree to get inoculated by the Sinovac vaccine.

She also said they have been given ample time to decide whether to join the initial list of Sinovac recipients to get their first dose on Monday.

Divinagracia also quipped that those who will not register for the March 8 vaccination can wait for the next batch of vaccines to arrive, possibly in the next couple of months. (N. Glenn Aragon/iNEWS)

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