NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – Eastern Mindanao Command’s (EastMinCom) military health officers took the lead in boosting public confidence in Sinovac vaccine by voluntarily inoculating themselves against the Corona Virus Disease-19 (Covid-19) during the symbolic vaccination held in front of Camp Panacan Station Hospital, Davao City on Monday March 8, 2021.
No less than National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, together with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Philippine Army Commanding General LtGen. Jose Faustino Jr, and the representative of Department of Health-11 (DOH-11) Director Annabelle Yumang, graced the symbolic vaccination to demonstrate full support and trust in the program.
“We encourage every member of the AFP to take part in this vaccination program.
This is not only meant to protect us from the virus but also to encourage everyone especially those who are still undecided to be inoculated,” Gen. Sobejana said in his speech, adding that the success of the national vaccination deployment program relies on the troops.
“Let us show to the public that they have nothing to fear about the vaccines that you are going to receive,” Gen. Sobejana said.
During the symbolic vaccination, three military health officers took the first shots in front of the media and other military and civilian health workers to signify their trust in the Sinovac vaccine and urge others to do the same. More than 80 military and civilian health workers of EastMinCom’s Camp Panacan Hospital, Dental Clinic, and Health Service Center are also slated to take vaccine shots. The three military officers who took the first Sinovac shots did not experience any side effects and remain healthy after the procedure.
A total of 1,200 doses of Sinovac vaccine are allocated for EastMinCom – half of these will be distributed to the 10th Infantry Division (10ID) based in Mawab, Davao de Oro while the other half is intended for health workers and personnel assigned at Camp Panacan. Since each person has to be given two vaccine shots, the 600 doses allocated to Camp Panacan can accommodate 300 individuals.
Those who engage in health-related works are being prioritized by the Command based on the guidelines set forth by DOH to put health workers on top of the inoculation priority list followed by senior citizens, low-income individuals, and then military personnel.
Camp Panacan Station Hospital Executive Officer Captain Victor Dato said that although vaccinating against Covid-19 is mandatory, EastMinCom is giving its personnel the leeway to choose the brand they want. As of the present, however, the only brand the Command has received so far is Sinovac.
Meanwhile, the DOH-11 reiterated that vaccines are just part of the solution and that there is still a need to follow health protocols even after inoculation.
The Secretary also re-echoed the statement of the DOH that getting inoculated does not mean one can already carelessly roam around. He added that while vaccination gives people immunity against the virus, this does not mean that one could no longer contract and spread the virus.
“For the meantime let us prevent the spread of the disease by wearing face masks,” Secretary Lorenzana said.
Secretary Lorenzana also shared that more vaccines are expected to arrive in the next couple of weeks, stressing that the government is fast-tracking the vaccination of frontliners and vulnerable people.