The initial 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine donated by China to the Philippines are expected to arrive in the country on Sunday, February 28, 2021 and some government officials will personally receive the vaccines upon arrival, according to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr.
In a press briefing held in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, on February 25, Secretary Roque said that the government is well-prepared for the arrival of the Philippines’ first doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including the hospitals that will be the first recipients of the vaccines.
“Handa na po ang ating mga ospital, kasama na rito ang Philippine General Hospital (PGH),” said Secretary Roque, adding that medical frontline workers of the PGH will be among the firsts to be vaccinated if the healthcare workers will be willing to be vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine.
In the same press briefing, UP-PGH Medical Director Dr. Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi said that the UP-PGH has already released a statement that they will accept whatever vaccine that will come with an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Dr. Legaspi said that the UP-PGH is ready in terms of the infrastructure and logistical requirements of vaccination, including the availability of freezers for the vaccines and the information technology requirement.
The UP-PGH Medical Director stressed that what is important to remember is that whatever vaccine comes will make a difference in helping control the spread of the infection and that the PGH is ready to accept vaccines regardless of brand or where the vaccines came from.
Dr. Legaspi underscored that the data on the 50 percent efficacy means that a person will have a 50 percent probability to have mild symptoms and a 50 percent probability of not having mild symptoms as well. While the probability of not having moderate symptoms is 75 percent, and the probability that a person will not get severe symptoms is almost 100 percent. He stressed though that all vaccines that will be approved by the FDA will give almost 100 percent protection from developing severe COVID-19.
On the prioritization for the vaccine rollout, the Palace spokesperson stressed that the order of prioritization will still be followed. “Una pa rin po dyan ang medical frontliners. Despite the EUA issued by the FDA, nilinaw po yan ni Dr. [Rolando Enrique] Domingo na hindi po ipinagbabawal na ibigay ito sa health professionals,” Sec. Roque pointed out.
Roque underscored that this is why it is important to get the position of medical frontliners on the issue because they can still be prioritized for the Sinovac vaccine if they agree to be vaccinated with it.
“Wala pong pilitan, yung gustong mag-antay nga po ng ibang brands, siguro ang concession na maibibigay sa kanila is pwede silang humindi at pwede silang mag-antay without losing their priority,” said Roque.
On another matter, the Cabinet official and concurrent spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is in Negros Oriental to attend a program on the readiness of the province for the vaccination program.
Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo provided an update on the current COVID-19 situation in the province where 21 out of 25 municipalities have active cases, which currently stands at 123 individuals. Governor Degamo also informed that the first molecular laboratory in Negros Oriental is now fully operational, as well as a 34-room isolation facility at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital.
Meanwhile, Mayor Janice Degamo of Pamplona said that her municipality has managed COVID-19 cases well and as of date, there is only one active case in the town of Pamplona. ### OPS-PCOO