COVID-19 testing czar: Vaccination of general population by mid year

Silay Mayor Mark Golez, Rep. Stephen Paduano, provincial consultant Alfredo Benitez, Secretary Vince Dizon, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Health Undersecretary Paz Corales (l-r) at the launching of the Negros Occidental COVID-19 vaccination drive for hospital frontliners.*CPG photo

The Negros Occidental provincial government launched the mass COVID-19 vaccination of frontliners in its eleven hospitals with the ceremonial vaccination of 12 at rites held at the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH) in Silay City Thursday afternoon, March 11.

Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, provincial consultant on economic affairs, said “this is a good day for everyone because this is the start of the vaccination program that will spell the end of this pandemic.”

Negros Occidental hopes to complete the vaccination of all its health frontliners by the end of the month and reach herd immunity by the end of the year, he said.

Secretary Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, COVID-19 testing czar and deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said the aim is to complete the vaccination of health workers nationwide by April or May.

This will be followed by the immunization of senior citizens and those with comorbidities, and the general population by the second half of this year.

The mass vaccination of the frontliners in the 11 hospitals of Negros Occidental will start Saturday, March 13.

“Today, the stars of the show are the health care workers. Kayo po ang mga tunay na bayani nitong laban na ito. (You are the true heroes in this battle). You are our heroes, our heroines,” Dizon said.

The 12 frontliners vaccinated at the ceremonial rites from TLJPH were Dr. Mary Ann Maestral – Chief of Clinics, Dr. Glenn Rivera – chair of the Department of Medicine, Dr. Francis Gabriel Relota – Hospital Safety Committee chair, Dr. Geno Dominic Alojado – Infection Control Committee chair, Dr. Jean Alojado – Department of Pediatrics, Ma. Maricel Judith – Chief Nurse and Kristine Kaye Necir – Medical Technologist;

From the Cadiz District Hospital – Dr. Laarni Guanzon – chair Department of Medicine and Randy Peacita -OIC Chief Nurse; Lorenzo D. Zayco District Hospital – Dr. Jeffry Castillon – Internal Medicine and Denmark Gonito – Nurse I; and Angelo Magalona – Nurse 1 from the Valladolid District Hospital.

Dizon lauded the provincial government officials led by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson for having brought down the COVID-19 cases in the province, Benitez for working hard to get help for Negros Occidental in addressing the pandemic and House Minority Floor Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano for supporting the passage of Bayanihan Acts 1 and 2.

Lacson thanked Dizon for attending the launch, saying his presence added more importance to the event.

Dizon also attended a ceremonial vaccination program at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital.

Benitez said the arrival of the vaccines from various manufacturers and more expected is very promising for the country.

If 50 million Filipinos are immunized by the end of the year, the country will have hit some sort of herd immunity, he said.

Health Undersecretary Paz Corales said the vaccines are being given to stop the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and to enable the Philippine economy to recover.

Also present at the launching were Silay Mayor Mark Golez, Board Member Ryan Gamboa, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz, Provincial Health Officer Ernell Tumimbang, and Provincial Incident Management Commander Zeaphard Caelian.*

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