The rollout of vaccination against COVID-19 in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) began this Tuesday, a day after the vaccine was injected into health care workers.
At Camp Aguinaldo, frontliner soldiers were vaccinated using the CoronaVac vaccine of China’s Sinovac Biotech.
Among the first to be vaccinated were Lt. Col. Jacquelyn Cloma, chief administrative officer of the Office of the Chief Nurse; May Francis Andrade, medical administrative officer of the Philippine Army; at Maj. Richard Delgado.
Cloma said he is now more comfortable taking care of patients after being vaccinated.
“Everyday we are interacting with people. ‘Yung pinupuntahan mo hindi mo alam kung meron silang COVID o wala… So ngayon ‘yung confidence ko mas mataas,” said Cloma.
AFP Chief of Staff Cerilito Sobejana and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana witnessed the vaccination ceremony.
Lorenzana reiterated that if he was the one to be followed, he would have wanted to be among the first to be vaccinated but due to his age, he was not qualified to receive CoronaVac.
The secretary also appealed to stop spreading “fake news” about Sinovac vaccines.
Vaccination of soldiers officially begins
“Kasi maraming lumabas sa social media trying to question the efficacy of the Sinovac. May mga nagsasabi na we deserve the best. Ang pagkakaintindi ko ay para bang hindi maganda ‘yung Sinovac. So I believe that there are some forces there trying to demonize Sinovac vaccine,” said Lorenzana.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the 13 vaccine recipients experienced high blood pressure, pain at the injection site, itchiness, rashes, headache, and nausea.
“All of them are common and all of them are minor adverse events,” she said in a virtual briefing. “Wala sa kanilang na-admit, lahat sila ay inobserbahan, na-manage, at after a while they were all sent home.”
The DOH said the government, not the vaccine manufacturer, will be held liable for AEFI since the vaccines are still under development and emergency use authorization (EUA).