DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 May) — The city government on Monday announced that vaccination of senior citizens will start on Tuesday, May 11.
The city government posted this notice on its Facebook page shortly before 3 p.m.: “Senior citizen vaccination magsugod na ugma (will start tomorrow).
MindaNews had earlier reported that while thousands of senior citizens in the key cities and towns of Mindanao have started receiving their first dose of vaccine against COVID-19, their counterparts in Davao City were still waiting for the schedule of vaccination.
Across Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities, Davao City holds the record of having the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths since mid-March last year.
Dr. Ashley Lopez, Acting City Health Officer, told MindaNews vaccination will start Tuesday at the SM Lanang Premier in the northern part of the city and Matina Aplaya Elementary School in the southern side, “using Sinovac and Astra Zeneca later.”
“It will be scheduled based on the registration made at their respective District Health Centers. They will be informed through text message of the date, time and vaccination hub,” Lopez added.
Lopez also said there will be “no walk-ins” as vaccination will be limited only to 300 per day. “It will double the occupancy of the hubs due to chaperones and the monitoring process for this group will be scrupulous.”
MindaNews asked Lopez on the Astra Zenec vaccines that he said would be be used for senior citizens “later” but he has not sent his reply as of 8 p.m. Monday.
The Department of Health -Davao region in its media advisory on Monday said vaccines from Astra Zeneca will arrive early Tuesday morning from Manila.
The shipment involves 19 boxes containing 13,200 vials good for 132,000 doses. This will bring to 280,000 the total number of doses allocated for the Davao region by May 11.
In her radio program early Monday afternoon, Mayor Sara Duterte encouraged senior citizens, categorized as A2 in the priority list of the national government’s vaccination program, to coordinate with their respective barangays and district health offices on how they can access the COVID-19 vaccines.
Although the inoculation program is not mandatory, the mayor urged the seniors to get vaccinated for protection.
“Our vaccination is voluntary but, of course, we are highly encouraging you to decide to get the vaccines because this will help us attain our target of herd immunity, which the public health experts say, can help control COVID-19 in our country,” she said.
The city government targets to inoculate at least 1.2 million to attain herd immunity.
She said the COVID-19 vaccines may not guarantee complete protection from the risk of getting the infection but added it may reduce the risk of developing a severe infection.
“Most of those who died because of COVID-19 were senior citizens aged 60 and above. These vaccines may not completely prevent from getting infected with COVID-19 infection but our public health experts say these vaccines will help prevent from developing severe case. Even when you get infected, you may develop mild symptoms or you may be asymptomatic and that can save your life,” she said.
Since the arrival of the first batch of anti-COVID-19 vaccines last March 2, the total number of vaccines that this region has so far received from the national government is 148,000.
Of the total vaccines allocated for the region, 128,000 doses were from Sinovac and 20,000 were vaccines developed by the British drugmaker AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
Davao City’s total number of COVID-19 cases is 14,898 as of May 9, 513 of these active, 13,686 recoveries and 699 deaths.
The city has “more or less 150,000” senior citizens, according to Luis Moran, head of the Office for Senior Citizens’ Affairs.
The Department of Health-Davao region Records from the DOH-Davao which are based on the reports of local government units, show that as of April 26, the “total master listed eligible population” of Priority A2 or Senior Citizens in the region is 353,268. Of this number, 88,381 are in Davao City.
In a statement, the management of SM Lanang Premier said inoculations will start at 10 a.m. at the mall’s cinema hallway for 250 pre-registered/identified senior citizens 60 years old and above.
The mall management, it said, works closely with the city government to ensure that health protocols are followed during the activity.
The city government called on senior citizens who have registered for vaccination to wait for a text message from their respective district health offices for their vaccination schedule.
Those who have not registered were urged to contact the Davao City Vaccination hotlines at 09610734965 and 09270229087. (Carolyn O. Arguillas and Antonio L. Colina / MindaNews)