An official of the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said more individuals are expected to receive the CoronaVac vaccine in the coming days as both the number of institutions administering the vaccine and public confidence increased after the successful first day of the country’s immunization program.
In a Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire lauded the leadership of the hospitals that administered the vaccine for taking the lead and boosting the morale of their personnel on inoculation.
“Katulad nila Dr. [Gerardo] ‘Gap’ Legaspi, yung ating eksperto na si Dr. Edsel Salvana, Si Dr. [Alfonso] Famaran po ng Tala Hospital [Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital]. Sa tingin ko po ay nakapag-bigay din ng kumpyansa sa ating mga healthcare workers (Those such as Dr. Gap Legaspi, our expert Dr. Edsel Salvana, Dr. Famaran of Tala Hospital. In my opinion, they gave confidence to our healthcare workers),” Vergeire said.
In a virtual Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the first day of the government’s national Covid-19 vaccination program was very successful.
“Naging napakatagumpay po ng day one ng ating national Covid-19 vaccination program kung saan lahat po ay nagdiwang. May iba pa nga pong naiyak sa tuwa lalo na po sa PGH nung nakita nilang nagpapabakuna si Dr. Gap Legaspi (Day one of the national Covid-19 vaccination program was very successful. Everyone celebrated. Some got teary-eyed especially in PGH when they saw that Dr. Gap Legaspi got vaccinated),” he said.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, in a news release on Tuesday, thanked the hospital directors of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Tala Hospital, the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), Victoria Luna Medical Center (VLMC), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital “for taking the lead in this inoculation.”
“We are also thankful to the doctors, medical specialists, and health workers who served as credible exemplars to ordinary Filipinos in trusting the science of vaccines,” Duque said.
According to the National Vaccine Operations Center, at least 128 individuals were vaccinated at the PGH, 85 from Tala Hospital, 20 from the LCP, 110 from the PNP General Hospital, 353 from the VMMC, and 60 from the VLMC—totaling to 756 vaccinated individuals during the country’s first day of the vaccine rollout.
“Now that we have commenced our rollout, the challenge now is increasing uptake and restoring public’s confidence in vaccines. We encourage eligible individuals to seize the very first opportunity they will be presented with to get vaccinated against Covid-19,” Duque said.
He said aside from international experts, local health specialists have already studied the safety of the vaccine manufactured by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech and asked the public to “trust the scientific process.”
“Every front-liner, every Filipino that will be vaccinated, and every dose that will be administered takes us a step closer towards a safer recovery,” Duque said.
Covid-19 chief implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government aims to complete the inoculation of all healthcare workers in March “to ensure the preservation of the country’s healthcare system.”
During the first quarter of this year, he said the Philippines is set to receive a total of 5.1 million vaccine doses.
He encouraged healthcare workers to have themselves immunized with whatever vaccine is available as these are “guaranteed to be safe and effective.”
“Ang lahat ng mga bakunang inaangkat natin, ‘yung 161 million doses ay safe at effective. Ang best vaccine ay ‘yung effective at efficient na dumating ng mas maaga (All vaccines we’re importing, the 161 million doses, are safe and effective. The best vaccines are those effective and efficient, those that come early),” Galvez said.
As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, Vergeire reported that 20 individuals showed “minor and common” side effects out of the 756 individuals who received their first dose of the CoronaVac vaccine.
She said these side effects were pain at the arm injected with the vaccine, itchiness or rashes, headache, nausea, and hypertension. (PNA)