“We are on the road to deliverance,” Mayor Evelio Leonardia said as five doctors and a nurse were the first to be vaccinated with COVID-19 Sinovac vaccines in Bacolod City this morning, March 5.
Leonardia said the arrival of the 6,300 doses of Sinovac vaccines in Bacolod City today is the start of a giant leap towards reaching herd immunity against COVID-19 in Bacolod.
It is historic that the first COVID-19 case and the first vaccination against the virus in Western Visayas happened in Bacolod City, Leonardia said at rites at the Bacolod City Government Center.
“Our leading and prominent doctors have now been vaccinated. These are the people who understand what this is all about. These are the people who can comprehend the consequences of a vaccine and yet, they are here as guiding examples for us to follow,” the mayor added.
The five doctors and one nurse who were the first to be vaccinated are “our heroes,” Leonardia said.
The doctors were Miguel Sarabia – president of the Negros Occidental Medical Society, Dolores Rommela Tiples-Ruiz – president of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases – Negros Occidental Chapter, Hector Gayares Jr. – chief executive officer of the Adventist International Healthcare System Philippines, Radela Yvonne Ramos-Cortes – allergologist and Carlos Javier Primicias Jr. – pediatrician, and nurse Valerie Villarosa Sarabia.
Michael Salvador, president of the Philippine College of Physicians-Negros Occidental Chapter and Kanlaon Medical Society, was also scheduled to be vaccinated this morning but his blood pressure went up during the screening process.
The vaccinators were OIC-City Health Officer Dr. Edwin Miraflor, Dr. Rosalie Deocampo, Dr. Claire Capiral, Dr. Grace Tan, Dr. Nica Locsin, and Ben Arnel Dela Cruz of the Department of Health 6.
“It’s a great day for Bacolod City that the vaccines have finally arrived,” Dr. Sarabia said.
“We are glad to be the first people to receive this gift of life,” he said.
“We would like to show that we ourselves who are doctors believe that the vaccine is safe and it is good for everybody to be vaccinated so we can go back to normal again,” Sarabia said.
“The Sinovac vaccine has a 100 percent safety rate for serious COVID-19. That means everyone who was injected with Sinovac all over the world need not die,” he said.
Gayares said, “As a leader in healthcare…it is my role to take the first jab, to lead by example, so that more will be inspired to follow suit. As a citizen, it is my part to do my share, not to be the next COVID victim, so I continue to wear my mask, face shield and practice the minimum health standards on top of the vaccine jab.”
“Let’s all take the jab, regardless of brand, and fight Covid away, he said.
There were 6,300 doses of Sinovac vaccines good for 3,150 persons that arrived in Bacolod City this morning for frontliners at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital and Riverside Medical Center Inc., City Administrator Em Ang said.
“This will jumpstart the city’s vaccination program. Finally, the long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel is really here,” she said.
Dr. Chris Sorongon, Bacolod Emergency Operations Center deputy for medical data and analysis, said not all of the vaccines will be availed of by the frontliners at the CLMMRH and RMCI so the excess vaccines will go to frontliners on their quick substitution list from five other Bacolod hospitals and the City Health Office.
RMCI and CLMMRH will start vaccination Sunday, he said
CLMMRH picked up 1,600 vaccine doses good for 800 frontliners, while RMCI is picking up 600 doses for 300 health care workers, Sorongon said.
The second dose of the vaccine will be administered in a month, he said.
City Health Office frontliners on the substitution list will be vaccinated at the BCGC annex building Sunday. About 800 have registered for vaccination, he said.
Leonardia said even if some say that the efficacy of Sinovac is 50 percent that is much, much better than zero percent protection.
He said Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and several councilors were willing to be vaccinated today to inspire confidence in the Sinovac vaccine but they were instructed by Secretary Carlito Galvez to prioritize health frontliners.
The mayor also said he will have himself vaccinated when the right time comes.
OIC-City Health Officer Dr. Edwin Miraflor said, “Sinovac can only be used for individuals 18 to 59 years old, without comorbidities.”*