Over 5M in Central Visayas targeted to get Covid-19 shots this year

THE Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) targets to vaccinate a total of 5,634,789 individuals regionwide this year.

Dr. Van Phillip Baton, DOH 7 medical program coordinator for infectious diseases, said during the first full council meeting of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 for 2021on Friday, Feb. 26, said that around 18,000 will be healthcare workers (HCWs).

Of this number, 9,659 HCWs will come from Cebu City.

Aside from the HCWs, others under priority group A under the national deployment and vaccination plan are indigents, senior citizens and uniformed personnel.

Those under priority group B are teachers, social workers, other government workers, other essential personnel outside of health and education, overseas Filipino workers and the remaining workforce.

The remaining population will comprise priority group C.

This prioritization framework is based on the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (Sage) recommendation.

Aside from prioritizing population groups, the government will also consider geographic location because the supply of vaccines is still limited.

“Since majority of our vaccines are slated tl be coming in within the third quarter of this year, we, in our hospitals, will be able to really select what priority groups will be provided depending on the vaccines that will be coming in,” Baton said.

Not eligible

Some individuals may not be given the vaccine, upon the assessment of a medical doctor.

Those who are manifesting Covid-19 symptoms on the day of their scheduled vaccination will have to reschedule their vaccination until they fully recover from the disease.

These symptoms include fever, chills, headache, cough, colds, sore throat, fatigue, weakness, loss of smell or taste, diarrhea, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing.

Those with history of exposure to confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases in the two weeks prior to the vaccination schedule will have to complete the mandatory quarantine period first.

Those who were treated for Covid-19 in the past 90 days will also be rescheduled after 90 days.

Those who received convalescent plasma or antibodies will also be rescheduled after 90 days.

Pregnant women in their first trimester will be scheduled after the first trimester.

Those who received any vaccines in the last two weeks will be rescheduled after a two-week interval.

Nationwide target

Under the three-year vaccination plan, Baton said 70 to 75 million Filipinos who are at least 18 years old will be eligible for vaccination this year.

The number will increase to 112 million in the second year. By the end of the third year, a total of 114 million Filipinos will be eligible for vaccination.

Baton said as initially discussed, those who are vaccinated in the first year will be given a booster dose in the second year. Booster vaccines are still being developed.

Baton said he believed that the first batch of vaccines will reach the region in March.

A shipment of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by China will arrive in the country on Sunday, Feb. 28, around a week after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA).

Aside from Sinovac, other vaccines that were granted an EUA in the Philippines are Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford.

The DOH, in a statement on Friday, assured that all three vaccines are “safe and effective” as evaluated by experts and the technical working group. (WBS)