SIXTEEN residents of Mandaue City, who have received at least one dose of a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), have been found positive for the virus, according to the local contact tracing team.
Lawyer Julius Ceasar Entise, head of the Mandaue City Contact Tracing Team, said the 16 individuals underwent swab tests to fulfill requirements for travel or medical procedures.
One individual, who has received two doses, was supposed to undergo surgery, but the procedure was deferred because of the positive test result. Entise said the patient is asymptomatic.
Entise said it requires much effort to explain to the eligible individuals that a vaccinated person could still contract the virus and get sick.
The vaccine, however, prevents severe Covid-19, and reduces the risk of hospitalization and death.
Entise also shot down misconceptions that a vaccine would lead to a positive reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result.
A vaccine activates a person’s immune system against a pathogen, but does not make the recipient sick.
“People are so anxious about things. Anxious about almost anything related to Covid. Anxiety is there because of a lack of knowledge. There is anxiety because of the fear of the unknown,” said Entise.
He said it is part of their job as contact tracers to educate the public on the benefits and risks of vaccination. He hoped they could allay the public’s fear and convince them to get the vaccine.
As of June 29, only 13,811 or 4.67 percent of Mandaue’s eligible population have been fully vaccinated. First dose inoculations reached only 68,950, or 23.32 percent. Total doses administered in the city reached 82,761.
In Cebu City, City Health Department (CHD) officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said it may be difficult to reach herd immunity by the end of the year because of the lack of vaccines. To achieve herd immunity, at least 70 percent of the population must be vaccinated.
Vaccination sites in Cebu City, which are capable of administering a total of 5,000 shots a day, were open only for a day and a half last week.
This week, the sites have been closed for three days, June 28 to June 30, because no additional vaccines have been delivered.
Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak, one of the cluster heads for the vaccination program, said inoculations will resume Thursday, July 1.
He said the Department of Health regional office (DOH 7) allocated 5,000 additional doses for Cebu City.
Ibones said the City targets to inoculate majority of the residents in the city’s upland barangays by September.
But the lack of supply has hampered operations. Ibones assured, however, that those who received the first dose are sure to get the second dose, because these have already been set aside.
Close to 270,000 individuals in Cebu City have registered for the vaccine. The city has a population of about one million, but the proportion of eligible population was not available.
As of June 29, data from public and private sector vaccination centers in Cebu showed that a total of 149,217 doses have been administered in Cebu City to 103,308 recipients, 45,909 of whom have also received the second dose.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson for the Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC), said Wednesday that there’s “a very good race” between priority groups A1 (healthcare workers, mayors, governors) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) in terms of vaccination rates in the region.
She said 124,146, or 94 percent of the 131,989 persons on the A1 masterlist, have received the first dose as of June 29 while 82,732, or 66.6 percent of first dose inoculations, have also received the second dose.
For A3, 171,938 have been given the first dose. They constitute 93.2 percent of the 184,384 on the list. Among those inoculated, 11.3 percent or 19,547 have also received the second dose.
The vaccination rate for A2 (senior citizens), however, mirrors the national trend.
Loreche said only 117,244, or 21.3 percent of the 549,444 eligible persons, have been inoculated. About 26 percent, or 30,993, have completed the two doses.
For A4, 2,403 workers have received the first dose. There are around 18,000 eligible workers in the region.
In Cebu province, including the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu, a total of 88,993 have been fully vaccinated while 205,509 were awaiting their second dose.
Central Visayas has received a total of 879,200 doses, consisting of 470,880 doses of Sinovac, 162,000 doses of AstraZeneca, 241,020 doses of Pfizer and 5,300 doses of Sputnik V.
On June 29, the region received 68,440 additional Sinovac doses, some of which were distributed Wednesday morning as follows: 3,000 doses each for Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City; and 2,000 doses each for Talisay City, Minglanilla, Naga City and Consolacion.
Nationwide, the vaccination rates for priority groups A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) remained low.
Members of the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) have stressed the need to vaccinate more senior citizens and persons with pre-existing medical conditions, who are at higher risk of developing severe Covid-19.
As of June 27, only about 24 percent of the estimated 9.4 million senior citizens in the country and less than 18 percent of the 14.5 million persons with comorbidities nationwide have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Only 2,288,221 senior citizens, or 24 percent (roughly one in four), have received at least one dose while 672,602 returned for the booster or second dose.
“We need to get the A2 vaccination rates up. I’m calling on all the seniors, if vaccines are available in your area and they’re distributed there, please register and get vaccinated,” Dr. Isagani Padolina, a member of the VEP and head of the research division of Pascual Laboratories, said in a recent media forum.
Among the individuals with comorbidities, NVOC said 2,566,460 million or over 17 percent, have received at least one dose. Those who returned for the booster shot reached only 710,846 as of June 27.
Groups A2 and A3 became eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on March 27.
Dr. Rontgene Solante, another VEP member and head of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine unit of the San Lazaro Hospital, said the senior citizens and persons with comorbidities are still being prioritized over the younger population. (KFD, WBS, JJL, SunStar Philippines)