The local government of Pasig City on Tuesday began its COVID-19 vaccination program. However, only half of the 300 slots were filled as many of its health workers are still hesitant to receive Chinese-made CoronaVac.
As of 10:30 in the morning, 153 health workers from Pasig City Children’s Hospital (PCCH) and Pasig City General Hospital (PCGH) have been injected with Sinovac vaccines. PCCH acting administrator Arlene Samonte said 147 vaccination slots are still open.
“I was asking some [health workers] and they said, ‘Takot po kami [magpabakuna],’” she told reporters.
(I was asking some health workers and they said ‘we’re scared to get vaccinated.’)
“Probably they are also influenced by a lot of news na kung minsan ay (that sometimes have) no scientific basis also,” she said.
Several healthcare workers were hesitant to receive CoronaVac after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that it may not be suitable for health workers exposed to the virus as the Sinovac vaccine has a “lower efficacy rate of 50.4 percent.”
However, National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and the Health Technology Assessment Council, an independent advisory body in the Department of Health, have agreed that the Sinovac vaccine could be administered to health workers.
Pasig City begins vaccination rollout
This includes frontliners, or those directly caring for patients with COVID-19.
Dr. Nerissa Sabarre, the city’s first vaccine recipient, also said Filipinos should not fear getting CoronaVac.
“‘Yung 50 percent efficacy ay good for me na dahil mas magandang may bakuna kaysa wala,” Sabarre said in a press conference after receiving her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
(The 50 percent efficacy rate is already good for me because it’s better than nothing.)
Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor Noel Cruz – who also got Sinovac – said he felt safer after receiving the vaccine.
“Any protection na maibigay ay okay na din… Ang tinitingnan ko ay ear, nose at lalamunan, eh nandoon ang virus. With this protection, malaking tulong,” he said.
(Any protection against COVID-19 is okay for me because I examine the ear, nose and throat and that’s where the virus stays. This protection is already a big help.)