18,656 health workers in Davao Region need Covid-19 vaccines

Medical workers of the Southern Philippines Medical Center show a dose of the Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccine during the start of the Covid-19 vaccination program at the state-run hospital in Davao City on Friday, 5 Mar 2021. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 05 March) — A total of 18,656 health care workers in the hospitals in Davao Region need to get inoculated with coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines, Department of Health (DOH) regional director Annabelle Yumang said.

The vaccination program in Davao City started on Friday, with Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) officer-in-charge Ricardo Audan as the first recipient of the vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac.

In a press conference during the Covid-19 vaccination rollout at SPMC, Yumang said the list does not include other frontline health workers employed in other medical healthcare institutions, barangays, and temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

She said the vaccines will be deployed from the agency’s regional health office on Sunday to different local government units in preparation for the start of vaccine rollout in other parts of the region on Monday.

Davao City has a total of 33,600 vaccines of Sinovac out of the 600,000 doses which arrived in the country last Sunday.

In a survey conducted by the SPMC on 1,700 workers, Audan said that at least 85% approved of Sinovac.

The hospital has around 5,900 workers, he said.

He urged the medical frontliners to set aside their hesitation to receive vaccines to get themselves protected from the infection.

As of March 4, DOH-Davao reported 42 new cases, bringing the total to 20,131, with 1,303 active ones, 17,977 recoveries, and 851 deaths in the region.

Of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 incidence in Mindanao, tallied 13,152 cases, with 677 active ones, 11,837 recoveries, and 638 deaths.

Davao de Oro reported 1,166 cases, Davao del Norte 2,996, Davao del Sur 1,360, Davao Occidental 211, and Davao Oriental 1,246.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III confirmed on Friday that the Philippines reported 52 additional cases of the South African variant and 31 additional cases of the UK variant of the virus.

Duque said  41 of the 52 new additional cases of the South African variant (B.1.351) and 14 of the 31 new cases of the UK variant (B.1.1.7) are in the National Capital Region (NCR)

The secretary did not reveal where the remaining cases of the two variants were reported.

Last March 2, the DOH confirmed the detection of the first ever six cases of the more infectious South African variant in the country.

He said the Technical Working Group on Covid-19 Variants, created by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), immediately called for a meeting with local chief executives of the NCR on Friday on the heels of the increasing number of cases of the South African variant.

Health experts in the country expressed concern that the Covid-19 vaccines, developed by British drugmaker AstraZeneca and Oxford University, may not work against the South African variant.

A total of 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines arrived in the country on March 4 through the COVAX facility.

Duque, who earlier declined to get vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine, said  he will receive the two-dose vaccine developed by AstraZeneca.

Duque emphasized the importance of getting the Covid-19 vaccine to get protected from the infection as a frontline health worker himself who administers it, faces the patients, and inspects the hospitals and the temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

Duque, 64, said the AstraZeneca vaccines can be used even for patients over 60 years old. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)