DOH: No SIMEX, no vax allocation

By Connie Calipay


The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol urged the provincial health institutions and local government units (LGUs) in the region to conduct simulation exercises (SIMEX)) for the vaccination procedure as a requirement for vaccine allocation.


This, after 22,000 doses in 2,200 vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Legazpi City on Mar. 10.


Dr. John Ferchito Avelino, DOH-Bicol assistant regional director, in a press conference said SIMEX must be conducted to ensure and assess the preparation of people, venue and facilities to be used when the actual vaccines arrive.


“LGUs and hospital must prepare facilities, vaccination workforce, referral facility for adverse effects, and list of eligible individuals to be vaccinated in the localities. DOH will also look into the venue lay-out, process and contingency plan just in case for adverse events like brownout, earthquake and other natural calamities,” Avelino said.


He also reminded LGUs to coordinate with the DOH for the conduct of the SIMEX in their areas.


Based on DOH-Bicol data, four LGUs in Bicol have conducted SIMEX. These are the provincial governments of Sorsogon, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes and city government of Legazpi for Albay.


“Masbate will conduct (SIMEX) on March 12 and Camarines Norte will be on next Monday,” Avelino said.


Meanwhile, Dr. Rita Ang-Bon, DOH-Bicol vaccination program coordinator, said the new batch of vaccines that arrived is intended for government hospital healthcare workers in various LGUs that have submitted the requirements based on the DOH deployment criteria.


Ang-Bon said the deployment protocols include availability of storage facility, and list of referral facilities and vaccine recipients including a pre-assessment study that determines who are willing to be vaccinated, health workers who wanted to be inoculated but are ineligible because they are senior citizens, and those who are suffering from comorbidities.


When asked about the deployment of the AstraZeneca vaccines, she said they could not yet determine the allocation per province as they are still waiting for the list from the Covid-19 referral hospitals across the region.


Noemi Bron, DOH public affairs chief, said the arrival of the vaccines contained in three cooler boxes was supervised by medical staff of the agency who immediately transferred the cargo to a waiting refrigerated cargo van at the airport tarmac.


A convoy of police and health workers transported the cargo to the DOH storage facility here for inventory and safekeeping.


The new delivery is part of the 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca that arrived last week in Manila from COVAX, the global vaccine pool recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).


A vial of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the Oxford University can inoculate 10 people with an efficacy rate of 62-90 percent.


Bicol region earlier received 12,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccines developed by Beijing-based Sinovac pharmaceutical firm.


The vaccination procedure using the medicines from China started recently in three government-run hospitals in Sorsogon province that received an initial 960 single-dose vials of Sinovac.


Bron said the initial allocation delivered to Sorsogon was intended for government health workers at the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital, Metro Health Specialist Inc., and Sorsogon Medical Mission Group Hospital and Health Services Cooperative.


The vaccine rollout was conducted after the three hospitals completed their vaccine simulation procedures. (PNA)