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1,280 Bicol health workers inoculated with Covid vax

By Danica Caballero

Some 1,280 healthcare workers in Bicol region received the first dose of the long-awaited Covid-19 vaccine since its roll-out on Friday, March 5.

Dr. Ferchito Avelino, Department of Health Bicol (DOH-5) assistant regional director, said that the 12,000 doses of the CoronaVac vaccine that arrived on Mar. 4 will be given to 6,000 healthcare workers from the four pilot hospitals that served as Covid-19 referral hospitals.

As of Monday, Mar 8,the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) in Naga City vaccinated 450 health workers; the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) in this city inoculated 436 workers; the Bicol Region General Hospital and Geriatric Medical Center in Cabusao, Camarines Sur has jabbed 174 workers; and the Naga Imaging Center Cooperative Doctors Hospital in Naga City immunized 221 of its workforce.

A health personnel recieves his first dose of the Coronavac vaccine on Friday, March 5, 2021 at the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City. (Photo by Danica Caballero)

“Healthcare workers are most at risk for the infection that’s why they are prioritized. They are directly working in the Covid-19 referral hospitals,” Avelino said.

The official added that the excess vaccines will be given to other government and private hospitals that have successfully conducted simulation exercises (SIMEX).

Minor vaccine reactions

In an interview, Dr. Rita Ang-Bon, DOH-5 vaccince coordinator, said that out of 340 health workers who got their first jab, only four got mild allergic reactions during the first day of the vaccination roll-out.

“After these health workers were given with anti-allergy medicine, their symptoms receded,” Bon said.

She assured that all vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration are safe and effective.

“The best vaccine right now is the vaccine that is already available,” she said.

According to Bon, among the adverse effects experienced by the vaccinees are pain in the vaccination area in the arm, rashes, nausea, and increase in blood pressure.

After the healthcare workers, the next vaccine recipients are senior citizens, people with co-morbidities, uniformed personnel, essential workers and the remaining population.

Herd immunity

Bon said that at least 70 percent of the Filipinos in the country need to be vaccinated to develop herd immunity or indirect protection of unvaccinated individuals from the disease that happens when a population is immune.

“There is a possibility that Covid-19 will not leave and we will live with it just like the flu virus,” she said.

She stressed that vaccination is not an excuse for someone not to follow the minimum health standards of wearing face mask, face shield, handwashing and keeping a safe distance. (PIA5)

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