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AFP starts inoculation of personnel using Sinovac vaccines

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has started the inoculation of its personnel initially with its frontline medical personnel in Quezon City on the first day of the vaccination rollout in the country.

A ceremonial vaccination was conducted on Monday at the AFP Health Service Command main lobby.

The first vaccine doses were received by Victoriano Luna Medical Center’s commanding officer Doctor Colonel Fatima Claire Navarro and two doctors Lieutenant Colonel Cynthia Liao and Major Joel Lorenzo Rollo.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said 30 AFP personnel were expected to receive the Sinovac vaccine on Monday.

“The AFP participates and select personnel benefits in the landmark rollout of vaccines today 01 March with the ceremonial inoculation at the Victoriano Luna Medical Center in Quezon City,” he said.

“Thirty frontline medical health personnel will be vaccinated in that hospital,” he added.

AFP chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles attended the event.

In a radio interview on Monday, Sobejana said 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines are allocated to the AFP personnel. He said they will prioritize their frontliners.

Out of the 100,000 doses given to the Department of National Defense, Sobejena said 50,000 will be shared to the AFP.

According to him, the recipients from the AFP are happy to get the vaccines.

“Well unang-una, it gives us protection. So palagay ko masaya po, dahil yun po, ito, matagal na nating hihihintay itong bakuna at gusto nating mabigyan ng proteksyun ‘yung ating mga kababayan,” he added.

On Tuesday, Arevalo said the inoculation rollout will proceed to healthcare facilities taking care of COVID-19 patients in AFP’s major branches of service in Metro Manila.

The inoculation for the Philippine Army will be held at the Army General Hospital in Fory Bonifacio, where hospital’s commanding officer Doctor Colonel Joel Anastacio will lead the ceremonial vaccination together with his team of medical health frontliners.

For the Philippine Navy, Arevelo said the inoculation will be conducted at the Manila Naval Hospital in Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig City. Also, the hospital's commanding officer will be vaccinated first.

Meanwhile, for the Philippine Air Force, the ceremonial vaccination will be held at the Philippine Air Force General Hospital in Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. Major Irene Abutas will lead the inoculation.

Arevalo told reporters that the AFP cannot give the exact total number of COVID-19 vaccine recipients in the military as of now. “We are finalizing it,” he said. — RSJ, GMA News