DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 March) — The City Government of Davao opened on Saturday its third vaccination site at the Magallanes Elementary School as it hastened the vaccination of frontline health workers amid the emergence of more infectious variants of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Dr. Ashley Lopez, acting chief of the City Health Office (CHO) said the third vaccination site is catering to the frontline health workers of the city government, particularly personnel of the temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, Public Safety and Security Command Center, Davao City Central 911, Rapid Action Team, Barangay Health Emergency Response Team, Barangay Health Workers, and Barangay Nutrition Scholars.
Lopez said around 190 personnel were vaccinated on the first day of the COVID-19 vaccination at the Magallanes Elementary School. The other two sites are the Southern Philippines Medical Center for its frontline health workers and A. Mabini Elementary School in Bangkal for frontline health workers in private medical institutions.
Lopez and Dr. Gene Gulanes, head of the Davao City Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Drug Dependents, were the first to receive AstraZeneca vaccines during the ceremonial vaccination.
In her program over Davao City Disaster Radio, Mayor Sara Duterte said she wanted to expedite the vaccination of frontline health workers amid potential surge due to the emergence of highly infectious South African and UK variants in the National Capital Region and Cebu.
Dr. Anna Lisa Ong-Lim, member of the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group in the national office, announced in a press briefing broadcast over People’s Television Network on Saturday the presence of a new COVID-19 variant originating from the Philippines called P-3.
“If we remember last week, the Philippine Genome Center actually shared some data about the two new mutations detected from among the 85 cases. When we received this information, we submitted this to global reporting system and we were waiting for them to let us know if this is unique to the Philippines or has been discovered in other countries, they’ve back to us and told us that this is a new variant,” she said.
She said there’s no sufficient data as yet to establish if P-3 variant is more infectious and that it causes more severe symptoms and deaths.
Davao City has been allocated 20,000 out of 33,600 doses of Sinovac and 3,000 out of the 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca that the national government set aside for Davao Region, according to Lopez.
The city targets to inoculate around 1.2 million people to achieve herd immunity.
SPMC officer-in-charge Ricardo Audan said 3,841 out of its 5,900 workers have been vaccinated from March 5 to March 13.
Lopez said around 4,000 frontline health workers were vaccinated as of Saturday at Magallanes Elementary School and A. Mabini Elementary School in Bangkal, which opened last March 8.
The city has 16,800 health workers, he said.
Lopez added that the city government plans to start the vaccination of 77,189 indigent and non-indigent senior citizens once the vaccination of all frontline health workers is completed.
Lopez added that the 432,549 indigent Dabawenyos will be prioritized for the vaccination based on the list of the City Social Welfare and Development Office and 5,200 members of the security forces.
As of March 13, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao reported 20,587 total cases, with 1,032 active, 18,682 recoveries, and 873 deaths.
Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 13,356 cases, with 541 active, 12,167 recoveries, and 648 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,226 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,130, Davao del Sur with 1,386, Davao Occidental with 214, and Davao Oriental with 1,275. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)