More Tala hospital workers want to be inoculated with Sinovac COVID-19 jabs, says chief

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2021 06:12 PM

More Tala hospital workers want to be inoculated with Sinovac COVID-19 jabs, says chief 1
A health worker administers the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to Dr. Alfonso Famaran, director of the Dr. Jose Rodriguez Memorial hospital (Tala hospital), on Monday, March 1, 2021. Famaran was the first health worker to receive the vaccine at the Caloocan hospital. ABS-CBN News

MANILA— More than 30 medical frontliners at the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (DJNRMHS) in Tala, Caloocan City have expressed their intent to be vaccinated with the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, the hospital’s chief said on Tuesday. 

This comes a day after Dr. Fritz Famaran, Tala’s medical chief, led the inoculation, the first to receive the Sinovac jab there, and amid hesitation among health workers in other hospitals.

“Ngayon marami tumatawag. Na-engganyo namin 'yung ibang staff ng aming hospital to undergo vaccination using Sinovac,” he told ABS-CBN News in an interview Tuesday.

(Many called me. We were able to convince other staff in the hospital to undergo vaccination using Sinovac.)

“Malaking bagay 'yun, if they trust the leader, they will follow… Pero voluntary 'yun, kahit na you trust the leader pero may alinlangan ka you have the option not to take Sinovac, you will wait for the next vaccine to arrive,” he added.

(It is a big deal… But it is still voluntary. If you doubt it, you have the option not to take it.) 

On Monday, 85 hospital employees agreed to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine from the China-based firm. 

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The vaccination team also reported 10 people who experienced adverse effects and were immediately given medical attention.

“Back to work na sila, we have to investigate per patient. We cannot generalize lahat ng na-vaccinate,” Famaran stressed.

(They are back to work.)

Dr. Christopher Delos Santos, Tala’s infectious disease specialist who also supervises the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccination team, said he also experienced adverse effects after being inoculated with Sinovac on Monday. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said side effects from the vaccines were normal. 

“About 2 [and a half] hours after the vaccination, I felt some moderate headache about 7 over 10 (pain) na headache. It’s not really bad,” Santos recalled. 

“Since bago 'yung gamot, dapat i-report lahat ang nararamdaman as part of surveillance,” he added.

(Since this drug is new, we should report whatever we experience afterwards as part of surveillance.) 

Famaran has ordered the hospital's surveillance team to have daily monitoring for all vaccines in the next two weeks. 

Delos Santos explained, meanwhile, that the causality from adverse effects have yet to be proven by experts as there is limited literature about the Sinovac vaccine.

“'Yung mga mild adverse effects, nangyayari mga 3 days after ng vaccination, matagal na siguro 'yung 5 days, beyond that baka maaaring hindi na dahil sa vaccine,” he explained.

“Though itong Sinovac vaccine relatively new so kailangan ng tinatawag na surveillance, sinabi ng DOH (Department of Health) na surveillance mga about 1 year.”

(The mild adverse effects happen after 3 days of vaccination. It can take longer, up to 5 days but beyond that, I think it is not because of the vaccine anymore. This Sinovac is relatively new so we need to conduct surveillance for about a year, as per the DOH.)

Tala hospital has been serving as a COVID-19 referral facility since the coronavirus outbreak in April last year. More than a thousand of its employees directly deal with coronavirus patients.

Famaran reported that 50 percent or more than 40 employees who were vaccinated on Monday were frontliners at the Tala’s COVID-19 ward.

As of Tuesday, the remaining 93 employees on the initial list for Sinovac vaccination have been given their schedules until this Friday, March 5.

A “first come, first served” system was implemented Tuesday at the Tala hospital to serve those employees who might change their mind and agree to have the Sinovac jab.

As of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, some 21 health workers have completed their first dose of the Sinovac vaccine.

“Ang feeling ko is invigorated, nag-increase 'yung aming confidence to accept and treat incoming COVID-19 patients, meron na kaming partial protection, kasi ang full protection is after the second dose,” Famaran said.

(I feel invigorated. Our confidence to accept and treat new COVID-19 patients increased because we have partial protection. The full protection happens after the second dose.)

The Philippines began its vaccination program on Monday in hopes of an immediate return to normalcy as the country races to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This year, the country aims to inoculate 70 million of its 108 million people to achieve herd immunity and reopen an economy that in 2020 saw its worst contraction on record, due largely to tight restrictions on movement in place since mid-March