MANILA - The chief of the country's top tertiary hospital has become the symbol of Philippines' fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, being the first recipient of the vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac.
Dr. Gerardo Dizon Legaspi, the director of the Philippine General Hospital, was the first health worker to be officially vaccinated, as the Philippines launched its vaccine drive Monday.
The neurosurgeon's inoculation officially marks the start of the vaccination program in the Philippines, where over half a million people already contracted the disease.
Here are some details about the health frontliner, according to medical websites:
- Dr. Gerardo Dizon Legaspi “Dr. Gap” has decades of active practice and teaching in neurosurgery;
- Expertise includes treating Aneurysms, Vestibular Schwannomas, Pituitary Adenomas, Skull Base Surgery, Keyhole and Endoscopic Surgery;
- Has clinics in Philippine General Hospital, Medical City, and St. Luke's Global City;
- Diplomate, Philippine Board of Neurological Surgeons; Fellow, Academy of Filipino Neurosurgeons and at the Philippine College of Surgeons
- Worked as a consultant in other government institutions, like Philippine Children's Medical Center, AFP Medical Center and Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum, Davao del Norte.
The Philippines began its first legal vaccination on Monday, beginning an ambitious program that seeks to inoculate up to 70 million people or two-thirds of the population this year.
After Legaspi, also vaccinated were Dr. Edsel Salvana, who is part of the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group and also a PGH doctor, and Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo.
Authorities earlier said China would donate 600,000 COVID-19 shots through Beijing-based Sinovac, which received its emergency use authorization in the Philippines just last week.
The 2-shot vaccine delivery will be enough to cover 50,000 soldiers and 250,000 health workers, who are at the top of the priority list, President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque earlier said.