While more than expected staff were inoculated against COVID-19 at the Philippine General Hospital on Monday, fewer individuals than those who registered received jabs at Metro Manila's two other referral hospitals.
The first day of March 2021 in the Philippines was marked by the historic rollout of coronavirus vaccines to COVID-19 referral hospitals in the national capital region, the local epicenter of the pandemic.
Vaccines were delivered to several COVID-19 referral centers during the wee hours of Monday, following the arrival of 600,000 Sinovac vaccine doses on Sunday afternoon.
According to reports on "24 Oras", only 85 were inoculated at the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium.
A total 180 out of 1,165 have earlier expressed willingness to be vaccinated at the said referral hospital in Tala, Caloocan.
At the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, 21 staff got vaccinated on Monday after 150 out of the 1,400 employees pre-registered for inoculation. Hospital executives hope to boost the numbers with an information drive.
At the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, 125 took part in the vaccination program, much higher than the initial expected turnout of only 20 to 50 staff.
Officials at the Tala hospital said it had a contingency plan in place to avoid wastage.
Testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon and four hospital workers were the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines at the Tala facility.
At the Lung Center of the Philippines, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III personally administered the first Sinovac shot to a pulmonologist.
At the AFP Medical Center on V. Luna Avenue Quezon City, it took 40 minutes before the vaccines were unloaded from a van because a pharmacist was not immediately available to receive the vials that were delivered earlier than expected.
At past 9 a.m., PGH director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi became the first medical frontliner in the country to receive an authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
Several other government officials, including Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Eric Domingo and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., were also inoculated at the PGH.
Duque will not get the Sinovac vaccine as he is past the 18 to 59 age group for which it is recommended.
The government aims to vaccinate at least 1.4 million health workers this month.
Meanwhile, uniformed personnel also received their share of 100,000 Sinovac shots.
Personnel of the Department of National Defense received their doses at the AFP Medical Center and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).
In the Philippine National Police, health service personnel were the first to be vaccinated.
A ceremonial vaccination was also held at the main lobby of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Health Service Command.
Four people, including VMMC and DND staff, have been reported to have felt unwell after getting a Sinovac vaccine.
Of this number, two have been discharged and two are still being monitored.
Doctors are yet to confirm if the symptoms were caused by the vaccine.
Galvez said there was still no definite delivery date for the AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility, a global initiative for equitable vaccine access, due to a supply shortage.
Over 500,000 AstraZeneca doses were initially expected on Monday.
The delivery of 117,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech scheduled for mid-February has also been delayed until the second quarter of the year.
Galvez said the government also planned to buy a million Sinovac doses this month to augment the 600,000 doses donated by the Chinese government.
The Philippines has recorded 578,381 COVID-19 cases with 534,351 recoveries and 12,322 deaths as of Monday afternoon. -NB, GMA News