MANILA - The last remaining COVID-19 referral hospital for purely mild to critical cases in Metro Manila, the Dr. Jose N Rodriguez Memorial Hospital (DJNRMH) in Caloocan City, will likely prioritize the vaccination of its 180 health workers who are willing to receive the jabs developed by Chinese drugmaker Sinovac, a staff said Sunday.
The first batch of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac is expected to arrive in Manila later Sunday.
Nurse Julie Anne Talimban-Soler of the DJNRMH said 180 out of 1,165 hospital staff who responded to their questionnaire said they would like to get inoculated with Sinovac's vaccine candidate, which is expected to be delivered to the facility at 5 a.m., Monday.
"Ang ike-cater po namin ang 180 persons po. Kasi, before po, ang target namin, 300 per day. Siguro, i-priority po muna namin iyong 180 persons. And then, tuloy-tuloy pa rin po ang counseling namin for Sinovac, just in case may magbago ang isip," Talimban-Soler told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(We will cater to the 180 persons. Before, our target was to vaccinate 300 personnel per day. We will likely prioritize the 180 persons. And our counseling for Sinovac will continue in case some change their mind.)
"Siguro, kung magkakaroon pa ng panahon for counseling, siguro mas mataas pa po ito."
(Maybe if we have more time for counseling, the number would be higher.)
The hospital has 1,917 personnel eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. "Some of them kasi are still waiting po sa ibang vaccine, kasi ang inaasahan talaga namin nung una is si Pfizer," she said.
(Some of them are still waiting for the other vaccine brands, because we were initially expecting the product of Pfizer.)
Some 92 percent of the hospital's staff earlier said they would like to get vaccinated with Pfizer's COVID-19 shot, she said.
Talimban-Soler said DJNRMH will begin its COVID-19 vaccination at 10:30 a.m. Monday.
The same activity will start 9:30 a.m. on the same day at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), according to its spokesperson, Dr. Norberto Francisco.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Benhur Abalos will attend the ceremonial vaccination, involving an initial 20 LCP staff, said Francisco.
On Monday, the Philippines is also expecting the arrival of 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine under the COVAX Facility.
The Philippines as of Saturday reported 574,247 cases of COVID-19, with 37,093 active infections.
The country, which aims to inoculate up to 70 million people to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus, has lagged behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in securing COVID-19 vaccines.
- with report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News