LAGUINDINGAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 8 April) – It took only 19 minutes to transfer the shipment of 24,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine from the Philippine Airlines plane to a refrigerated van waiting at the tarmac of the Laguindingan Airport.
All under the watchful eyes of armed police officers who later escorted the van and other vehicles to the Department of Health regional office in Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City, 33 kilometers away.
The vaccines, said health officials, are intended for the medical frontliners of Northern Mindanao.
PAL Flight PR 2519 landed at 5:07 a.m. carrying 20 boxes of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from China.
By 5:26 a.m., the refrigerated van was already on its way to the DOH regional office.
Emiliano Galban Jr., DOH X spokesperson, said that in the afternoon, the vaccines were already distributed to the nine cities and five provinces of Region 10.
He said the shipment was the third that arrived for the region’s 84,000 frontliners.
Galban said the two earlier vaccine shipments include 17,000 doses of Sinovac in February and 22,000 doses of AstraZeneca in March.
He said since these vaccines require two doses per beneficiary, only 19,500 of the frontliners have been vaccinated so far, and 12,000 more will have their jabs soon with the latest Sinovac arrival, for a total of 31,500.
“We are still a long way of our target of 84,000 medical frontliners,” Galban said.
He said they are expecting a bigger vaccine shipment of one million doses later this month. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)