COTABATO CITY—Bangsamoro health minister Dr. Amirel Usman affirmed that 2, 100 health personnel in the region are the first to receive of Sinovac vaccine, following its arrival on Thursday, March 4, in Cotabato City.
With 4, 200 vials of Sinovac vaccine, each of the health workers shall receive 2 shots, with 4 (four) weeks interval from the first vaccination. This is for phase 1 of the anti-Covid-19 vaccination program of the Bangsamoro Government’s Ministry of Health (MOH).
“From these initial 2,100 shots, 1,400 will be from Maguindanao, 972 in Lanao del Sur, 278 in Basilan, 1,032 in Sulu, and 518 for Tawi-Tawi […] while Cotabato City was already given by Region 12,” Usman said.
Usman emphasized that at least 70% of the Bangsamoro constituents are the initial target to be vaccinated all throughout the region.
Health workers in the region (who work both in public and private hospitals), including frontline workers in the ministries of social services, education, and local government, are the top priorities of the MOH.
After the health workers, the next priorities are the indigent senior citizens, Bangsamoro constituents, and uniformed personnel. However, this is still subject to change, depending on prevailing situations.
“We have two types of Covid-19 vaccine—the one which can be stored in +2C to +8C refrigerator and the other can be stored in -70C. The challenge for Pfizer is, BARMM still has no capability to store -70C temperature right now,” Usman said.
According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Sinovac is recommended (but not prohibited) for 18-59 years old, healthy individuals with no exposure to Covid-19.
Also certified as Halal by the Indonesian Government, Sinovac has minor effects on the inoculated person such as nausea, pain, swelling, and redness at the site of injection. Accordingly, these are normal vaccination reactions.
Meanwhile, for the senior citizens, both Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines offer high efficacy and reduce severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
“There are no adverse reactions from the Sinovac vaccine. If any, a team will observe the receiver or person immunized from 50 minutes to 1 hour in the vaccination sites near the hospitals,” Usman stressed.
Usman also highlighted that the available vaccine at the moment is the “best vaccine” for everyone, highlighting that vaccination program is just part of the government’s preventive measures against the virus.
Health workers, who are willing to get vaccinated, are advised to sign waivers. However, they also have the option if they prefer another Covid-19 vaccine such as Pfizer or AstraZeneca.
MOH is set to conduct a vaccination ceremony tomorrow morning, March 5, at the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Maguindanao. (Bangsamoro Information Office)
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