The Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) and the Riverside Medical Center Inc. (RMCI) kicked off the mass COVID-19 vaccination of their frontliners at ceremonial rites Monday, March 8.
However, the number of their staff who signified their willingness to be vaccinated dropped on learning that the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine would be used, Dr. Jose Pepito Malapitan, RMCI acting assistant medical director, said.
Their first RMCI survey showed that 900 were willing to be vaccinated but the number has dropped to about 500, he said.
Dr. Julius Drilon, CLMMRH chief, said earlier 900 of their staff signified their willingness to be vaccinated. However, only 745 out of the 1,743 CLMMRH employees have signed up for the Sinovac vaccines as of Monday, although the number could increase to 850, he added.
“My personal advice as a doctor is whatever (vaccine) is available take it, it is better than zero protection, it is better than no vaccine at all,” he said.
The number of those who volunteered to be vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine could also be lower because it is recommended that it be administered to persons aged 18 to 59 years old only, Drilon said.
Drilon said he turned 60 on Sunday but he might take the risk and have a Sinovac vaccine.
About 132 of the CLMMRH staff, or more than 8 percent of the total workforce, have been hit with COVID-19 since August last year, he said.
The Sinovac vaccination could mean half of their workforce will be protected which would be better, he said.
Almost 400 patients have been treated for COVID-19 at the CLMMRH since last year, he said.
Nine officials and doctors of the CLMMRH were vaccinated at ceremonial rites today, and 150 a day will be vaccinated starting Tuesday, Drilon said.
The nine vaccinated Monday were doctors Franklin Delano Tumaneng, Joan Cerrada, Harry Carial, Eirene Ayalin, Carina Frayco, and Rhea Tabujara, chief nurse Marybeth Marcial, OIC chief administrative officer Antonio Monfort and public information officer John Michael Gabriel Zaragosa.
At the RMCI, the seven vaccinated at ceremonial rites were doctors Pepito Malapitan, Evram Corral, Therese Angeli Cocjin, and Jeanette Umali, nursing director Maria Liza Peraren, Noel Garbo and Nancy Hizon.
Drilon said the CLMMRH will not lower its guard despite the COVID-19 vaccination.
“We will not lower down our basic health protocols, we will still adopt our infection and control process,” he said, and asked the public to respect that.
Their staff will still wear Personal Protection Equipment while treating high-risk individuals, he added.
Admissions at the CLMMRH dropped during the pandemic because of the directive that there should be a one-meter space between each bed, he said.
So their 700 operational beds decreased to about 200 to 250 beds, he said.
They also have 140 beds for COVID-19 patients, and almost 300 allocated for their personnel, he added.*