Over 700 individuals get COVID-19 vaccine on first day of immunization program - DOH
Over 700 individuals, mostly healthcare workers, received vaccination against coronavirus disease during the first day of the government's immunization program on Monday, March 1, the Department of Health said on Tuesday.
In the "Laging Handa" public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that 756 individuals, mostly healthcare workers from military hospitals, received the first dose of China's Sinovac vaccine.
"We've seen that (the number) is bigger than what we have expected. We're expecting that the number will increase because more hospitals (will be given the vaccine)," she said.
The inoculation rollout on Monday took place in six government referral hospitals only.
There were 128 persons who were inoculated in Philippine General Hospital; 85 in Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (Tala Hospital); 20 in Lung Center of the Philippines; 353 in Veterans Memorial Medical Center; 60 in V. Luna Memorial Center; and 110 in Philippine National Police General Hospital
Vergeire said the better turnout of the vaccination rollout could be attributed to the participation of some physicians and health experts who received the Sinovac vaccine themselves, such as PGH head Gerardo Legaspi.
There were concerns on the use of Sinovac vaccine due to its low efficacy rate of 50.4 percent.
Vergeire said the DOH could determine if the confidence of health workers on Sinovac would rise after a week of vaccination.
On report that one of the recipients at VMMC was rushed to emergency room after receiving the vaccine, the Health official said side effects are expected.
Similar to other vaccines, she said, "these are minor adverse events which our people should not be worried about."
She said it is common to have mild fever or pain on the part of the body where the injection was made.
Vergeire said the government would continue to monitor the recipients of the vaccine for a year to determine of the possible side effects of the drug.
Aside from the public hospitals, the official said by next week, the government would dispatch the Sinovac vaccine to private hospitals to be used to their frontline health workers.
China has donated the 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine that are now being used in various hospitals for their workers.
The Philippines has yet to receive vaccines from other pharmaceutical companies. Celerina Monte/DMS