BACOLOD City is the most prepared local government unit (LGU) among cities and provinces in Western Visayas, based on its Covid-19 vaccination plans submitted to the Department of Health (DOH)-Western Visayas.
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, according to DOH-Western Visayas infectious disease cluster head Dr. Mary Jane Roches Juanico.
Upon learning of the assessment, Mayor Evelio Leonarda said, “This is an inspiring surprise. We simply submitted our Vaccination Roadmap without knowing there was a DOH ranking system. Our unity and teamwork are 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.”
DOH’s readiness assessment was based on various thematic areas which 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.
Juanico said LGUs in Western Visayas “struggle” in the areas of targeting, demand generation and demand prioritization.
In Bacolod, 68 percent of the total population – 424,992 out of 624,987 individuals – will be the target of the city’s vaccination program, according to Leonardia, national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), during his report at the “Liveable Cities Challenge” webinar Wednesday, February 24.
The 32 percent that is excluded, or the remaining 199,995, pertain to individuals below 18 years old and not on the list of beneficiaries. Bacolod was among the first LGUs in the country to procure Covid-19 vaccines from a pharmaceutical company.
The City has already paid an initial P31 million to AstraZeneca.
Expected to arrive starting the third quarter, the 650,000 doses from AstraZeneca will kick off Bacolod’s vaccination program, making it among the top five cities in the country with the biggest vaccine orders, along with Davao City, Quezon City, Makati City and the City of Manila.
Per DOH guidelines, in Phase 1, Bacolod eyes to vaccinate health workers, senior citizens, indigents, military and uniformed personnel, other workers in the frontlines, and people with special needs.
Additional vaccines for 99,992 other residents will come from the supply to be provided by the national government or the city may procure more.
Leonardia said Bacolod’s Covid-19 Vaccination Council – one of the first by an LGU in the country – was established on December 22, 2020, to prepare for mass vaccination, which will be conducted through a public-private partnership.
According to the mayor, there are currently 27 identified public vaccination sites in the city. But if the private sector’s offer to set up 13 additional sites is added, there would be a total of 40 sites.
Residents must register to be vaccinated, either online or in barangay offices.
Meanwhile, a cold storage facility is being set up at the Bacolod City Government Center to accommodate about 2 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. (PR)