Pasig City reached 100% completion of the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine for the A2 priority group or eligible senior citizens on Thursday.
This developed as Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) on Thursday shipped to Manila 1.5 million Sinovac-made COVID-19 vaccine doses, bringing to 16 million the total doses of the Coronavac brand the country has received since February.
In Baguio, City Health Services Office assistant head Dr. Celia Brillantes pleaded with residents to strictly follow the vaccination requirements and schedules and not insist on going to vaccination sites when they are not yet up for inoculation or without the needed documents.
Brillantes said this would only be a waste of their effort and time, as they would only be sent home.
National Task Force for COVID-19 Chief Implementer Vince Dizon, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje and Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque joined Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto in acknowledging the Pasigueños’ feat at the Pasig City Sports Center.
“At first, to be honest, it was really hard for us to come up with the database. Last December 2019, someone erased our database for senior citizens. But we did multiple entries or multiple ways, multiple doors to our vaccination registration,” Sotto said.
“Thank you so much and congratulations to us for this accomplishment in vaccinating 100% of our eligible senior citizens,” he added.
In Manila, health officials led by Secretary Francisco Duque, Undersecretary Ma. Carolina Vidal-Taiño, and Director of Supply Chain Management Service Dr. Ariel I. Valencia welcomed the arrival of the Coronavac shipment, which landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport – Terminal 3 around 7:49 a.m. via CEB flight 5J-671.
“We are glad to keep on transporting essential cargo and COVID-19 vaccines to the country and provinces within the airline’s reach,” said CEB chief strategy officer Alexander Lao.
Upon arrival, the vaccines were immediately loaded in reefer vans and was transported to the Pharmaserv Express cold storage facility in Marikina City to keep them safe before they are distributed to various parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Pharmaserv also delivered on Thursday some of the doses of the newly arrived Johnson and Johnson vaccines to the province of Laguna.
The single-shot J&J vaccines donated by the United States government will be distributed to the cities of Binan, Cabuyao, Calamba, San Pablo, San Pedro, and Sta. Rosa.
Pharmaserv is also set to deliver today doses of Coronavac to the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Manila, Paranaque, and Quezon City.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, meanwhile, reminded local government officials to ensure that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are stored properly so they won’t go to waste.
“We want to remind our LGUs to guarantee that their respective storage facilities have the right temperature for Pfizer vaccines,” Galvez said, adding that Pfizer vaccines need storage temperature of between negative 70 to negative 80 degrees Celsius.
Galvez said the national government is trying to avoid a repeat of what happened in Muntinlupa City, where an undisclosed quantity of vaccines was discarded due to storage temperature issues.
Because of this, Muntinlupa won’t receive a share from the latest doses of Pfizer vaccines that arrived Wednesday.
“That’s really what we wanted also, to teach some lessons to LGUs na talagang dapat huwag nating pabayaan ang ating mga bakuna,” said Galvez.
The country received an initial batch of 562,770 doses out of the 40 million doses of Pfizer vaccines purchased by the government.
Out of the 562,770 doses, 51,480 each were shipped to Cebu and Davao while the rest arrived at the NAIA.
In Baguio, Brillantes said the unscheduled vaccinees’ presence would also exacerbate the long lines and crowding experienced at vaccination areas that could turn into possible “spreader” situations of the disease, especially if physical distancing is not observed.
Vaccination sites can only accommodate a certain number of people per scheduled date, she added.
Brillantes assured there will be enough vaccines for all those eligible to be vaccinated in Baguio, and that there is no need to panic as vaccines will not run out.
“People should just stay calm, not worry, and be patient in waiting their turn to be vaccinated. Rest assured that no eligible vaccinees in the city will be left behind in the vaccination process,” Brillantes said.
She also reminded those eligible to register at bakuna.baguio.gov.ph and echoed Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s constant appeal for everybody, even those fully vaccinated, to continue adhering to minimum public health standards.