(Eagle News) – The country’s testing czar Vince Dizon became the first member of the cabinet to get the Sinovac vaccine on Monday morning, March 1, and was followed by vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
The two officials are the first members of the Inter-Agency Task Force to get the Chinese-made Sinovac jab with the brand name Coronavac as the Philippines started its vaccine rollout on Monday.
There was a simultaneous rollout in Metro Manila with the Philippine General Hospital becoming the site for the first vaccine shot received by a Filipino, the PGH director, Dr. Gerardo Legaspi.
Dizon said that he didn’t feel a thing when he got the Sinovac jab at the Tala Hospital in Caloocan City.
“Mas masakit flu vaccine kaysa dito. Dito wala akong naramdaman at all,” he said a few minutes after getting the shot.
Dr. Alfonso Victorino Famaran, the director of the Tala Hospital, now known as the Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, also had the Sinovac vaccine to convince other medical frontliners to do do the same.
-Sinovac, safe and effective even for those with allergies-
He said that he felt that Sinovac was the safest vaccine for him since he has a history of allergies.
There had been reports in other countries of severe allergic reactions after getting the Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control had earlier reported at least 175 case reports “identified for further review as possible cases of severe allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis” after getting the Pfizer shots which uses messenger RNA (mRNA), which is a new type of vaccine technology.
Sinovac, on the other hand, uses inactivated virus of COVID-19. The use of inactivated virus to produce a vaccine has been used since the 1800s, and are considered one of the safest forms of vaccine.
-Galvez gets Sinovac shot at around noon-
Galvez got his Sinovac shot much later than Dizon.
The vaccine czar who was at the PGH site said although he had enlisted early for the vaccine shot. He decided to let the health care workers to get the vaccines first in compliance with the earlier directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to prioritize health frontliners.
Galvez got his Sinovac shot shortly after 12 noon at the PGH. He gave the thumbs up sign as he was being vaccinated.
More Philippine officials and health workers followed.
-Delivery of Pfizer, AstraZeneca vaccines further delayed-
The Philippine government is trying to convince more health workers to get the Sinovac vaccines as there were reported delays in the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, as well as the AstraZeneca vaccines coming from the World Health Organization’s COVAX Facility.
In fact, the delivery of the AstraZeneca doses, particularly the 525,600 doses initially announced to arrive on Monday, March 1, did not push through.
Galvez said that the vaccines could still be delivered this first quarter, probably next week.
Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benhur Abalos was also among those given the SInovac at the PGH.
Also vaccinated at the PGH, aside from Director Legaspi, were Food and Drug Administration Director General Undersecretary Eric Domingo, and infectious disease specialist Dr. Edsel Salvana,
At the V. Luna Medical Center, among those vaccinated were the V. Luna Medical Center chief Col. Fatima Claire Navarro.
There were also vaccinations done at the Lung Center of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Medical frontliners, as well as the members of the military and police are in the priority list to get the SInovac vaccines.
(Eagle News Service)