DAVAO ORIENTAL — Following the arrival of 600 vials of single-dose Sinovac vaccines from the Department of Health on Monday, the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental has officially rolled out the COVID-19 vaccination in the province in a ceremonial kick-off ceremony earlier today, March 10, 2021.
For the first day of the vaccination, 69 health workers were inoculated across three vaccination sites in the City of Mati. These vaccination sites are located at the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center (DOPMC), St. Camillus Hospital, and Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST).
Hospital health workers comprising of 356 individuals from the DOPMC and 72 personnel from St. Camillus Hospital are expected to be inoculated within the next six days with a target of 100 individuals to be served per day. The excess vaccines are set to be given to the personnel of the Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities in the City of Mati and the municipalities of Lupon and Cateel — the local government units noted with the most number of COVID-19 cases.
Provincial Health Officer and Provincial Task Force on COVID-19 Action Officer Dr. Reden Bersaldo, who was among the first individuals to receive the vaccine here, shared his excitement on finally receiving the life-saving shot. “I am very honored and privileged. The moment has finally come. Thanks to God and to our partners,” he said, noting that other health workers and frontliners will soon follow suit.
His enthusiasm was shared by other hospital health workers who were also inoculated during the rollout. Having received the shot, these health workers say they feel more safe and protected from the coronavirus.
“It’s truly fulfilling. Health security-wise, I feel we are getting close to the point where we can say we have reached immunity against the coronavirus,” said Registered Nurse Franco Ben Rocamora.
“This (vaccination) is like a light at the end of a tunnel. We have done a lot of things already, more so that we have already this vaccine. This has definitely given us hope in our battle against COVID-19,” said DOPMC Chief of Clinics Dr. Rommil Oraiz.
The health workers who have received their COVID-19 shots are set to receive their second dose after 28 days from the first dose.
Meanwhile, the vaccination program is set to be cascaded down to the component LGUs of the province. For the highly anticipated massive rollout, the provincial government has earmarked P60 million for the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines. This is on top of the funding allocated by all 11 component local government units. “Our vaccination program is a concerted effort of all LGUs,” said Governor Nelson Dayanghirang.
The simulation of the vaccination rollout in the municipalities is scheduled for next week.
DOH Assistant Secretary Roy Ferrer, who graced today’s ceremonies, congratulated the province of Davao Oriental for the successful rollout of the vaccination program.
A COVID-19 survivor himself, Assistant Secretary Ferrer urged the public, especially the health workers, to have themselves vaccinated. “Time is of the essence. This is the way we can prevent COVID-19,” he said as he stressed that after the massive vaccination, people will continue to practice the new normal which means adherence to the Minimum Health Standards.
Also present during the ceremony are City of Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat, DOH XI Regional Director Dr. Annabelle Yumang, Provincial DOH Officer Dr. Gracita Berguia, City Health Officer of Mati City Dr. Benhur Catbagan, and all other municipal health officers. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan