NO LOCAL government officials will be inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine yet as all 7,200 doses in the first batch that arrived on March 2, 2021 are intended for healthcare workers, the Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) clarified.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 spokesperson, issued the clarification Wednesday, March 3, after two Cebu City councilors said they were willing to be vaccinated to build trust in the vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Except for Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) deputy chief implementer for the Visayas Melquiades Feliciano, Loreche said all vaccinees at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) on Thursday, March 4, will be medical frontliners.
“No for non-health care. Not yet,” Loreche said in a text message to SunStar Cebu.
As of Tuesday, March 2, only 768 out of the 2,987 healthcare workers at the VSMMC have registered for vaccination. They will be led by medical chief Dr. Gerardo Aquino.
The 7,200 doses that arrived Tuesday will, however, vaccinate 3,600 individuals. The Sinovac vaccine is given in two doses four weeks apart to clinically healthy persons 18 to 59 years old.
The Cebu City Council, through a motion made by Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia during the regular session Wednesday, requested DOH 7 to allot the remaining doses to frontliners of the Cebu City Medical Center and City Health Department as well as to government personnel in barangay health centers who are involved in Covid-19 response field operations.
In a press conference also on Wednesday, Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera said he, infectious disease specialist Bryan Lim and some members of the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will get their first dose of the Sinovac vaccine on Thursday.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak was also quoted in a SunStar Cebu report as saying that he will be among those who will receive the vaccine.
Both councilors said they want to build vaccine confidence, especially since public acceptability of Sinovac is low. The Sinovac vaccine, or CoronaVac, is an inactivated vaccine developed by Sinovac Life Sciences in China.
“Sa pagka karon, ang pinakamaayo nga vaccine ang kanang naa nato nga vaccine (As of now, the best vaccine is the one that is available). This will, at least, prevent severe symptoms and death,” said Garganera.
Garganera said the vaccine will help lessen the probability of getting hospitalized and developing severe symptoms of Covid-19.