"THERE is no more [reason] for us to doubt the vaccine.”
This was stressed by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia Friday, March 5, 2021, after five medical doctors and a nurse in Bacolod joined the ceremonial vaccination against Covid-19 at the Bacolod Government Center (BGC) lobby Friday.
These include Dr. Miguel Sarabia, ophthalmologist and president of Negros Occidental Medical Society (NOMS); Dr. Hector Gayares, chief executive officer of Adventist International Healthcare System Philippines and deputy medical of EOC; Dr. Dolores Rommela Tiples-Ruiz, infectious disease specialist and president of Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Disease-Negros Occidental Chapter; Dr. Radela Yvonne Ramos-Cortes, Internal Medicine, Allergy and Immunology; and Dr. Carlos Javier Primicias Jr., pediatrician.
Valerie Villarosa-Sarabia, a nurse and wife of Dr. Sarabia, was also vaccinated.
Leonardia said it is significant and meaningful that the first Covid case in Western Visayas was recorded in Bacolod City.
“So let it also be on record that it be part of the history that the first vaccination also happened in Bacolod City. If we talk about the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine which is somewhere 50 percent, we should think that 50 percent is much-much better than zero percent. It’s still a big thing,” he said.
A total of 6,300 doses of Sinovac vaccines intended for the medical frontliners from Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) and Riverside Medical Center arrived in Bacolod City on Friday.
These vaccines were allotted by the National Government to prioritize first the medical frontliners assigned at Level-3 Covid-19 facilities. It is part of the 600,000 initial doses donated by China to the Philippine government.
In Western Visayas, six hospitals were identified as Level-3 Covid-19 facilities which include the CLMMRH and Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod City.
“We are fortunate in Bacolod that the medical sector or profession is giving us this unconditional and full cooperation. These are the people who know what is this all about. These are the people who can comprehend what are the consequences of the vaccine and yet, they were here to be example for all of us. For us, they are heroes,” Leonardia said.
He said they are hopeful that this is going to be a giant leap for the city’s intention to reach the number of people to be vaccinated in Bacolod.
The mayor noted that Dr. Sarabia and wife are the first couple ever in Western Visayas to have received the Sinova vaccine.
“Hopefully, this will encourage the people to avail the Covid-19 vaccine. Most of our residents want to wait and see how a Covid-19 vaccine works in others before they would get it,” Leonardia said.
He said medical doctors, who joined the ceremonial vaccination, did not feel any untoward reaction after the vaccination.
He added about 60 million individuals were already vaccinated in the United States and more than 20 million persons in Europe, and that there is no reason for Bacolodnons not to avail of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Leonardia said he is also willing to be vaccinated, but the Sinovac is only intended for the persons aged 18 to 59 and will have to wait for other vaccines to arrive in Bacolod.
Leonardia said Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran along with Councilors Israel Salanga, Cindy Rojas and Ayesha Villaflor were already ready for vaccination, but they were not vaccinated since the first priority is the medical frontliners.
He said a day before the delivery of the Sinovac vaccine, he texted vaccine czar Carlito Galvez that there are some city councilors who want to be vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine, but Galvez replied that the vaccine is limited and it will prioritize the medical frontliners.
He added the Department of Health had set the guidelines and they should follow it.