Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and assistant provincial health officer, Dr. Liland Estacion, will be among the first to receive the vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019, regardless of which brand will arrive first.
Estacion, incident commander for Covid-19 and health committee chair of the province’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said the governor asked Capitol officials and other agency heads to lead by example by receiving the vaccines first.
“In our meeting yesterday, the governor appealed to the provincial heads of offices and PIATF members that if possible, we will be the one to lead in the initial vaccination or the ceremonial vaccination of any kind of brand of vaccine that will arrive in Negros Oriental,” Estacion said in a virtual press briefing.
She, however, said it was not yet clear as to when the province will begin receiving the vaccines.
Health and other officials earlier admitted that some residents have apprehensions on the Covid-19 vaccination as they ramp up information and dissemination campaigns to convince the public on the safety of these vaccines.
Estacion said the brand of vaccine is immaterial, provided that these get an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from concerned health agencies.
What is more important is for the priority sectors, like medical health workers and front-liners, to receive the vaccine at the earliest time possible, she said.
“We should be administered with the vaccine that is available, as the brands given the EUA by the Bureau of Food and Drugs, the Food and Drug Administration, and the World Health Organization, are undoubtedly safe,” she added.
“Otherwise, these brands wouldn’t have been given the EUA if they weren’t considered safe,” she said, in response to a question on whether the provincial government will wait for a more efficacious vaccine in the wake of the emergence of new variants of Covid-19.
Her statement came as the country began to roll out its massive inoculation campaign in select priority areas, following the arrival of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine on Feb. 28.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases in the province appeared to be on a downtrend, even though Estacion stressed the need for people not to let their guard down as quarantine restrictions are already being eased.
Estacion said they received 337 swab test results on Monday, broken down into 321 negatives with 19 recoveries, 12 new positive, and four repeat-swab positive cases.
The new positive infections are from Bacong, Sibulan, Dumaguete City and Guihulngan City with two each, and Basay, Dauin, Sta. Catalina, and Bayawan City with one each.
The new recoveries are from Dumaguete City and Bayawan City with seven each, Basay – 2, and Jimalalud, Pamplona, and Guihulngan with one each. The total caseload of Negros Oriental, as of Tuesday, was 1,733, broken down into 1,532 recoveries, 147 active infections, and 54 deaths.*PNA