Bacolod City has finally received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine today, March 5, making it as one of the top 5 cities outside of Manila to secure the vaccines.
The vaccines arrived at 9:11AM, today at Bacolod Silay airport via PR9219, a Philippine Airlines cargo flight from Manila, with top officials from Bacolod Emergency Operations Center welcoming the first COVID-19 vaccine delivery for the city.
According to EOC Executive Director, City Administrator Em Ang, the city received a total of 11 transport boxes containing 6,300 doses of vaccine from China-base Sinovac Biotech Ltd. The vaccines are part of the donation of China that was received by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte at Manila Airport last Sunday.
From the airport the vaccines were immediately transported to the city for storage at the centralized cold room facility located within the annex building of Bacolod City Government Center.
At 11:00AM, Mayor Evelio Leonardia led the ceremonial vaccination rollout with 5 doctors and a nurse from Bacolod as first recipients of the initial shot of Sinovac in Western Visayas. First to be vaccinated were Doctors Carlos Javier Primicias Jr., Miguel Sarabia, Dolores Ruiz, Yvonne Cortes and Hector Gayares Jr. The second shot according to City Health officer-in-charge Dr. Edwin Miraflor, Jr will be on April 1st.
Leonardia who appeared emotional when he delivered his message following the ceremonial vaccination said it is significant and meaningful that the first vaccination in Western Visayas is in Bacolod.
He added: “We are fortunate in Bacolod that the medical sector is giving us unconditional and full cooperation,” adding the he hopes that this will boost the vaccination program against COVID-19.
For her part, Ang said the arrival of the vaccines will jumpstart the city’s vaccination program after the “long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel”.
According to Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical of the EOC, vaccination of health workers from 2 primary COVID-19 referral hospitals in Bacolod is scheduled to start on Sunday, March 7 and will run until March 11.
Aside from Sinovac, the local government of Bacolod is also expecting to receive additional vaccines from British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca after it signed up a multilateral and confidentiality agreement for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. It has allotted P300 million pesos for the purchase of the vaccines.
[update on 3/5 | 2:07PM to include the correct names of medical frontliners who were inoculated]