Davao runs out of COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 March) – The city will temporarily halt its vaccination of healthcare workers starting Thursday after it ran out of vaccines against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), City Health Office acting head Dr. Ashley Lopez said.

During his program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Lopez said the city was not expecting the national government to send more vaccines because all 400,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by China, which arrived in the country on Wednesday, have already been allocated for areas in the National Capital Region (NCR).

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

The local governments in NCR are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, which they blamed on the more infectious South African and UK variants, as well as the latest variant called “P-3” that originated in the Philippines.

Lopez said that as of Tuesday, 12,723 of the city’s 21,442 healthcare workers have been vaccinated since the inoculation started on March 5.

This leaves a total of 8,719 healthcare workers who have yet to get vaccinated, he said.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief Carlito G. Galvez Jr. assured the local government that it would have a share of the one million doses of Sinovac vaccines which will be delivered to the country on March 29, he said.

He added the local government expects the vaccination to resume by the first week of April.

According to the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao, the 33,600 doses of Sinovac and 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca that it received from the national government have been distributed across 166 vaccination sites in the region.

Lopez said the first tranche of vaccine allocation benefited not only healthcare workers in the hospitals in the city but also those in infirmaries, stand-alone clinics, dialysis centers, and other health care institutions.

Galvez, in a DOH-NTF joint press release, said the country is expecting to “receive almost 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of the month through the government’s negotiations with Sinovac and through the WHO-led COVAX Facility.”

Of the total, he said one million were procured from China’s Sinovac, while the remaining 979,200 doses were the additional doses donated by AstraZeneca through COVAX Facility. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)