Bacolod City now has five buses for its VAX-i mobile vaccination drive, with the latest one launched Monday at the Ceres North Terminal in the city.
“The fight against COVID-19 is a race against time. This (VAX-i) is another way to accelerate our vaccination program. We have to search for them (vaccinees). If our citizens cannot go to our vaccination center, our vaccination center – thru the VAX-i buses– will go to them,” Mayor Evelio Leonardia said during the ceremonial launch of the fifth VAX-i bus.
The fifth VAX-i bus is the third bus provided for the city government’s use by Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI), operator of Ceres buses, headed by its chief executive officer Leo Rey Yanson.
The other bus was provided by Merzci Pasalubong of businessman Jonathan Lo. The first-ever VAX-i bus, meanwhile, is a repurposed city tourist bus.
VAX-i is among the several innovations introduced by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the COVID-19 Vaccination Council (CoVaC) to boost the vaccination capacity of the city government.
VAX-i buses drive around Bacolod, with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers on board, who administer COVID-19 vaccines to workers in the marginalized sectors.
The ceremonial launching for the 5th VAX-i bus was led by Leonardia, City Administrator Em Ang, concurrent EOC executive director and CoVaC coordinator; Councilor Cindy Rojas, chair of the Action Team on Non-OFW Returning Residents; Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy medical of EOC; Julius Entila, vice president for administration of VTI; Dr. Lynon Escoton, company physician of VTI, and former councilor Roberto “Bobby” Rojas.
“When a partner calls, a partner answers. The city asked for support, so we answered. We will help Bacolod City in any way we can,” Entila said.
Entila, on behalf of the Yanson family and the 18,000 members of the VTI, also thanked the city government for allowing the company “to be a part of the solution.”
“I hope our economy recovers. The COVID problem is everybody’s problem. Let’s do our part because once our city recovers, so will we,” he added.
For her part, Ang commended the VTI for the help it extended to the city during this pandemic. She also lauded the frontliners and volunteers of the city’s vaccination program.
“Our city is still looking for ways to hasten our vaccination program and continue fighting this pandemic,” she said.
As of September 9, the total number of vaccine doses administered by the city already reached 253,666. Of these, 143,011 were first doses, while 110,655 were second doses.*