THE city government is preparing to buy Novovax vaccine, which is produced in the United States of America, in case the national government fails to provide the number of vaccines that the city would need.
“Very recently, pwede na mu-order ang LGU (local government unit) og Novovax and we started sa atong documentation para sa purchase of the Novovax,” Mayor Sara Duterte revealed yesterday over the Davao City Disaster Radio.
This developed as the city will receive an initial 15,000 doses of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines from the national government through the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility, the mayor said.
During the same radio program, she noted that a total of 7,500 individuals will benefit from the initial supply.
Duterte said the country is expecting to receive the two-dose vaccine of Pfizer-BionTech, which requires an ultra-cold storage facility with a temperature of -70 degrees Celsius.
The local government, however, does not have information when the vaccines would arrive, she said.
Duterte urged private hospitals in the city that serve as COVID-19 referral facilities to submit to the city government the names of their health care workers who are willing to receive the vaccines.
The initial supply will be more than enough to cover all the workers of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), which has around 5,000 employees, should they all agree to be inoculated.
The mayor said the city’s public and private hospitals that cater to COVID-19 patients have around 13,000 frontline healthcare workers, excluding those employed in standalone laboratories and allied medical services.
The healthcare workers are at the top of the government’s priority list for COVID-19 vaccination program, she said.
Dr. Ashley Lopez , City Health Office (CHO) acting head, said earlier that the city will prioritize 16,677 health workers, 77,189 senior citizens, 432,549 indigent residents and 5,258 security personnel.
The local government targets to vaccinate around 1.2 million people to achieve herd immunity.
Lopez said the preparation of the list in the case of health care facilities was taken care of by the CHO, senior citizens by the Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affairs, indigent residents by the City Social Welfare and Development Office and the uniformed personnel by the police, military and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
According to Lopez, the local government has initially identified the A. Mabini Elementary School and SPMC as vaccination sites for the initial rollout of the immunization program, but they are also coordinating with the University of Southeastern Philippines, Ateneo de Davao University-Matina Campus and the University of Mindanao campuses in Guianga in Tugbok District, Ilang in Tibungco and in Bolton Street.
As of February 21, the DOH-Davao Region reported 85 new cases, bringing the total to 19,462, with 1,668 active, 16,983 recoveries and 811 deaths in the region.
Of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 12,764 cases, with 792 active, 11,354 recoveries and 618 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,102 cases, Davao del Norte with 2,860, Davao del Sur with 1,307, Davao Occidental with 211 and Davao Oriental with 1,218.
The city government has also intensified its information dissemination on the inoculation to assuage the fear of residents who have had second thoughts in undergoing the process against COVID-19.
“Naga develop ta ug materials which will be distributed para mas masabtan nila magsugod ta kung unsa ang COVID and will end sa why do we need the vaccine,” she added.
She reiterated that after vaccination, residents still need to follow minimum health standards like wearing face masks, face shields and observe social distancing.
The city government and the Department of Health conducted simulation exercises in preparation for the arrival of the vaccines as well as the vaccination processes. With a MindaNews report
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