At least 4,200 Sinovac vaccines intended for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) medical front-liners arrived here Thursday.
The vaccines, which arrived via a Philippine Airlines commercial flight from Manila around 11:55 a.m., represent BARMM’s initial allocation of the Chinese-made vaccines from the national government, which will be given to health workers directly involved in handling coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.
Dr. Amirel Usman, acting BARMM health minister, said the vaccines would be kept overnight at their office’s storage facility before its transport to district hospitals in the region.
“We have prioritized health workers directly treating Covid-19 patients for our vaccination rollout,” Usman told reporters here in an interview.
He said that for the initial vaccine delivery, Maguindanao would get 1,400 vials; Sulu – 1,032; Lanao del Sur – 972; Tawi-Tawi – 518; and Basilan – 278.
“A total of 2,100 hospital workers in Covid-19 facilities in the region are allotted two doses each while the succeeding vaccine deliveries will be for other front-line personnel and vulnerable sectors,” Usman said.
In Maguindanao province, health office chief, Dr. Elizabeth Samama, said they would start the ceremonial inoculation of doctors and nurses at the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital on Friday morning.
Other government hospitals in the province include the Buluan District Hospital, Datu Odin District Hospital, and the Datu Blah District Hospital.
Meanwhile, vaccines intended for the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi will be transported either by land, airplane, or boat with the help of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the BARMM’s partner in providing emergency food and healthcare to mothers and children in poor areas of the region.
“We will be finalizing plans overnight with the UNICEF people for the fastest way to deliver the vaccines to the other province-components of the region,” Usman said.
He urged the health workers to have themselves vaccinated with Sinovac as it is safe and “halal” or permissive to the Islam faith. The Ministry of Health – BARMM has an estimated 19,000 workforce. (PNA)