THE government-owned Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) will get an initial 1,900 doses from the initial shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The initial shipment of 114,000 doses for the entire Philippines is expected to arrive between Feb. 12 and Feb. 15, 2021, Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) Director Jaime Bernadas said in a press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
VSMMC hospital administrator Gerardo Aquino Jr. said the number of employees who have agreed to be inoculated has increased to 2,904.
Given that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine must be administered in two doses 28 days apart, VSMMC would need 5,808 doses.
Aquino said the vaccination site at VSMMC will be the Center of Behavioral Sciences. Two floors will be utilized — the ground floor as the vaccination area and the second floor for the registration.
The healthcare frontliners at the VSMMC have been prioritized for vaccination due to the rising cases of infection in Cebu City.
The DOH, together with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and VSMMC, conducted a simulation of the vaccination procedures on Feb. 9.
OCD 7 Director Marlou Salazar said some procedures needed to be improved such as transport of vaccines from the plane to the reefer van, how the vaccines were handled, convoy movement, and receiving the vaccines at VSMMC.
“These are the major events that should be improved. In general, we have to improve our system,” said Salazar.
Bernadas also said devices that monitor the temperature should be visible during transit. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs to be stored at -80 to -60 degrees Celsius during transit.
During the simulation, it took 70 minutes to bring the vaccines to the VSMMC from the airport, said DOH 7 spokesperson Mary Jean Loreche.
Loreche said a specific timeframe must be set for the unloading of the vaccines at the airport and at the hospital.
“This was highlighted yesterday so all of these must be in place so that the temperature of the vaccines shall be preserved as it comes and during transit,” said Bernadas.
Overall, Bernadas said the simulation exercise was “successful.”
Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales said the government targets to complete the vaccination program in 10 to 12 months, provided vaccines are available.
Gonzales said Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino has decided to put up a vaccine action center at Oakridge where a daily briefing, including education and information efforts about the vaccine, will be conducted by Loreche.
Gonzales said the center will serve as venue for all the coordination meetings related to the vaccination program as well as a database facility.
Covid-19 beds in Cebu City
Independent research group Octa Research warned that Covid beds utilization in Cebu City hospitals could reach the critical level of 70 percent in two weeks.
Bed occupancy is still manageable at 40 percent as of Feb. 7, higher than the 25 percent a month ago.
The group said that while they are confident that Cebu City and the province are now “better prepared” to deal with the current increase in cases, the possibility of the more infectious B.1.1.7 or United Kingdom variant spreading is a “game changer” as this will require more aggressive interventions.
In its Feb. 9 report, the group said Cebu City averaged more than 120 new cases daily from Feb. 1 to 7, a 30 percent increase from the previous week.
It also said the positivity rate, or the number of positive results from the number of samples tested, has increased to 10 percent in Cebu City. The attack rate jumped to 11.11 from 10 per 100,000 population.
These factors, Octa Research said, classify Cebu City as a high risk area per DOH guidelines.
The positivity rates in the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu were higher at 15 percent.
On Wednesday, Loreche debunked rumors that Cebu already had a confirmed case of the South African variant of the coronavirus.
What Cebu has, she said, is only one confirmed case of the U.K B.1.1.7 variant, the 54-year-old male overseas Filipino worker from Dubai who has a residence in Talisay City. He was asymptomatic and already declared clinically recovered before he was released from isolation. (JJL / WBS)