IN addition to the doses of the Chinese Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine that arrived in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) near the end of last week, the CAR has received some 17,800 more doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.
10,000 doses are of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine, while 7,800 of the new batch is Sinovac.
The vaccines are yet to be aligned and distributed, according to Karl Sam, Department of Health – CAR public affairs officer.
According to Sam, the AstraZeneca jabs in particular are still in the process of identification and will be distributed once the DOH-CAR has figured out where they are most needed.
Meanwhile, the nearly 8,000 jabs of Sinovac are intended as the second dose for the previously inoculated health workers in the region who received their first Sinovac jabs after March 5, Sam said.
A total of 8,946 listed and registered frontliners are due to receive their vaccines as the rollout of jabs begins.
Also, the reception to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines among hospital workers had significantly improved resulting in a successful roll-out of the inoculation program in the city so far.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said response to the roll-out had been good and the level of acceptability had also increased based on surveys conducted among hospital workers that were done to determine the level of acceptability and brand preference among them, being the first in line to receive the vaccines.
He related that at the start, the level of acceptability was only 48 percent as most of the respondents were hesitant about the vaccine.
However, after a series of engagements and information, education and communication (IEC) sessions, it rose to 69 percent then to 80 percent and eventually 90 percent.
But when Sinovac actually entered the picture, being the first available vaccine in the country, the acceptability dipped.
“In fact, in one hospital where a total of 374 workers were surveyed, 373 refused and only one agreed because of Sinovac. But after the initial roll-out, we were surprised that the number was reversed. Only one refused to take the vaccine and 373 agreed even if it was Sinovac,” the mayor said.
“Our experts are correct in saying that the best vaccine is the one that is available now. So I encourage our health workers and those in the priority list to take advantage of the vaccines once their turn to be vaccinated comes,” he added.
He said vaccination of health workers will continue in the next two more weeks and they expect to reach 80 to 90 percent of the targeted number in the next few days, thanks to the vaccine allocations from the national government.
The next supplies will be for the elderly with comorbidities.
The mayor assured that apart from the national government allotment, the city had procured 380,000 doses of AstraZeneca for residents which are scheduled to arrive in tranches starting in the third quarter of the year.
Apart from these, the city also expects donations based on pledges made by private companies which include a global company, the Filipino-Chinese community, the Baguio Country Club and some private individuals.
“I can say that we will have enough vaccines to cover 80 to 90 percent of our target population,” the mayor said. With reports by Aileen P. Refuerzo