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Prov’l gov’t temporarily stops accepting COVID-19 vaccines

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BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The provincial government of Negros Occidental has temporarily stopped accepting COVID-19 vaccines from the national government, due to storage problems.

As of now, we cannot accept additional vaccines because our ultra-low freezer is full, disclosed Dr. Claudelia Josefa Pabillo yesterday. She is in charge of the Provincial Health Office (PHO) Cold Storage facility.

Pabillo said that she was asked by the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday night if their storage facility can accommodate more vaccines.

Provincial Health Officer Ernell Tumimbang earlier said that Negros Occidental will receive an additional supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

Before accepting more supplies of vaccines, we have to dispose those in the storage facility, Pabillo said.

While she cannot recall the number of doses of vaccines stored at the facility, she said they have more stocks of Pfizer in violet and orange caps.

Pabillo said she expects DOH to ask again them on May 19 if there is available space in the storage facility for additional vaccines.

Pabillo admitted that the vaccination rate among senior citizens in some Negros Occidental local government units remains low.

She attributed it to the hesitancy of senior citizen, due fears of side effects.

Pabillo said that elderly who experienced chills and body aches during the primary vaccination fear experiencing the same thing if get booster.

Others, according to Pabillo, are complacent due to decreasing number of COVID-19 cases in the province.

Even for booster shots, the vaccination rate is minimal, she noted

With the election campaign period over, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson reiterated his call for local chief executives, especially in those in areas with low vaccination rates, to actively campaign for inoculation.

On the other hand, Pabillo said that they have yet to receive fresh replacements for expiring vaccines from the COVAX Facility.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire disclosed there was a verbal commitment from COVAX to replace not only those that were donated, but also doses that were purchased and are set to expire.

Pabillo said she noted that DOH usually send vaccines to the province a week before expiration, with shelf-life extension of up to three months. That is why there were no vaccines that expired in the province, she said.*

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