Maguindanao starts vaccinating health care workers

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 05 March) – Frontline health care workers in Maguindanao at the Integrated Provincial Health Office in Shariff Aguak town received on Friday their first dose of the Sinovac vaccines for Covid-19.

BARMM health officials receive the Sinovac vaccines at Awang Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

Dubbed “Resbak Muna Campaign,” the vaccination prioritized the younger doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff.

Dr. Ameril Usman, Acting Health Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, volunteered to be the first to be vaccinated.

He said he did it to allay apprehensions among Muslim health workers that the Sinovac vaccines may not be halal.

Usman on Thursday said the Chinese-manufactured vaccines have been certified as halal by the Indonesian government.

A police official who attended the event also got a dose of the vaccine.

But Dr. Elizabeth Samama, chief of hospital, did not avail of the Sinovac vaccine.

She said she would just wait for the arrival of the second batch of vaccines.

Health workers who were previously infected with the virus have to wait for 90 days before they may be vaccinated.

The Provincial Health Office will go to its district hospitals to inoculate health workers there.

The Sinovac vaccines for BARMM’s health workers arrived Thursday via a Philippine Airlines plane at the Awang Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

Usman said the vaccines will be distributed as follows: 1,400 for Maguindanao, 972 for Lanao del Sur, 278 for Basilan, 1,032 for Sulu, and 518 for Tawi-Tawi.

He said the vaccines that arrived can only accommodate 2,100 health workers, as each of them will receive two doses, the second to be administered 28 days after the first shot.

Samama said they are eyeing to vaccinate 60 to 70 percent of Maguindanao’s 800,000 population to achieve “herd immunity.” (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)