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408 parishioners receive jab on DOH-Church partnership

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

Some 408 parishioners received on Saturday, Nov. 20 their first jabs at the St. Jude Thaddeus parish (SJTP) along Almeda Highway in Naga City.

This is the first collaboration between the Department of Health (DOH)-Bicol and a faith-based organization here in Camarines Sur, where the parish was used as a vaccination center and parishioners are targeted as main recipients of Covid-19 vaccines.

St. Jude Thaddeus parish priest Rev. Fr. Francis Tordilla said that when the DOH regional office called for a faith-based organization to help them in the roll out of the vaccine, they were happy to oblige.

“In fact, we are quite exhilarated in the Archdiocese of Caceres because heeding the call of Pope Francis himself who told us that churches are not meant to be museums nor they are meant to be simply offices, but they are supposed to be field hospitals where we can accommodate people who are wounded, people who are sick and literally we are able to transform that today,” Tordilla said.

Tordilla also thanked the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) vaccination team headed by its Public Health Unit chief, Dr. Natalie Lazaro.

Health workers from USI-Mother Seton Hospital, NICC Doctor’s Hospital, Camarines Sur Medical Association, and volunteers from Tomasinong Bicolano, and Philippine Coast Guard also assisted the team during the one-day vaccination.

“I think what really spells out the difference is that when you make this into a community effort, there’s a high level of confidence and trust with one another. We were really very happy to be of help and I hope we can reach herd immunity, malay natin, before Christmas,” Tordilla added.

SJTP volunteer nurse and team coordinator Mariss Catherine Roque said that most adult vaccinees came from different sitios.

“As early as 7:30 AM people are already lining up. Most of the vaccinees were pre-scheduled but we decided to accept walk-ins, thus exceeding our initial target. We started the inoculation at 8:00 AM and wrapped up at 1:00 PM,” Roque said.

DOH Bicol Public Information Officer Noemi Bron said that there was no wastage as all the available vaccines were used and there were no reported adverse events following immunization.

“We were targeting about 368 for the first dose but you know we were able to hit 408 people who got vaccinated, so we were very, very happy with the result, and I hope other churches will follow suit,” Tordilla stated.

On Nov. 30, Tuesday, the parish will accommodate 12-17 year old vaccinees as it roll out its first pediatric vaccination with the DOH. (PIA5/PIA Camarines Sur)


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