GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 3 March) – Nearly 9,000 healthcare workers in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) are considered eligible for the upcoming initial round of vaccination in the area for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using the Sinovac vaccines donated by China.
Arjohn Gangoso, health education and promotion officer of the Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12, said Wednesday the target individuals are all workers of 23 COVID-19 referral hospitals in the region that were identified as priorities for the vaccine rollout.
He said they are currently waiting for the final schedule of the delivery of the Sinovac vaccines, which could happen anytime this week.
A team from the DOH-12 is currently assessing the readiness of the referral hospitals in conducting the vaccination, he said.
“We will immediately start the inoculation once the vaccines arrive,” he said in a briefing for government communicators and information officers in Koronadal City.
Gangoso said the vaccines will be delivered directly to the DOH-12 regional office in Cotabato City, which already has a standby cold storage facility.
These will be transferred later on to the provinces and cities in preparation for their distribution to the COVID-19 referral hospitals.
The 23 referral facilities includes private, local government-supported as well as DOH-run and retained hospitals in the area, among them the Cotabato Regional Medical Center in Cotabato City and the Cotabato Sanitarium in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
Gangoso said the workers of the referral hospitals were identified as top priority due to their high risk of exposure to the virus.
Citing their records as of March 1, he said a total of 8,705 health workers from the referral hospitals were identified in the master list as eligible to get the vaccines.
But he said they still expect the number to increase as there are health workers who were not included in the initial list.
He reiterated that the vaccination will be voluntary and the eligible health workers will be required to signify formally if they want to be included in the upcoming rollout.
Gangoso acknowledged there are still health workers who are hesitant to get the Sinovac vaccines but a significant number have already signified to be vaccinated. (MindaNews)