BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
The COVID-19 vaccination program of Bacolod City will continue today, Holy Wednesday, but will be temporarily suspended during the Holy Week particularly on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday.
Dr. Chris Sorongon, Emergency Operations Center deputy for medical, data analysis and management, yesterday said the vaccination program will resume on April 18 at SM City-Bacolod and Ayala Malls Capitol Central, as well as Jollibee-Gatuslao, from Monday to Sunday.
Sorongon said Vallacar Transit Inc. has also signified its intention to man vaccinations sites at the North and South Ceres terminals and has requested the city’s approval that it be allowed to have their nurses and healthcare workers administer the vaccination.
He will be presenting the proposal of VTI to operate vaccination sites at the North and South Ceres terminals during the meeting of the EOC today for consideration of their team, he said.
“We are also encouraging the public to get their third dose or booster shot against COVID-19. Health experts have seen that there is no new surge in the Philippines and the number of COVID-19 cases continue to decline because we did not do away with the wearing of face mask and have received early booster or third dose,” Sorongon said.
Initially, health experts have recommended 6-months interval before receiving a booster dose. But Bacolod had administered booster shots as early as two months for Janssen and three months for other vaccines, he said.
So, they are asking the public not to be complacent but should get added protection against COVID-19 because the vaccine has an “expiry.” At the end of six months, one’s anti-bodies lower, so they need to boost it again for their immune system to reboot or re-awaken in preparation for a new variant or strain, he added.
Sorongon said the World Health Organization is already recommending a second dose for booster shot but they are waiting for the Department of Health to issue the guidelines.
Bacolod City is still number one in Western Visayas in terms of its vaccination program having achieved about 133 percent of its 80 percent target population. It is also number one in terms of vaccination for 5 to 11 years old and 12 to 17 years old, he said.
They have also opened seven schools for limited face-to-face classes. But because of the tropical depression, classes will resume after the Holy Week, he added.
Meanwhile, Sorongon said Bacolod has no supply of vaccine that will expire or will be wasted because this involves government or people’s money. Their mobile buses continue to operate in the puroks and barangays and have scheduled vaccination drives in subdivisions and haciendas because they want the people of Bacolod to be fully vaccinated so there is no wastage of government funds.*