MANILA - Some cities in the capital region on Wednesday started inoculating their residents against COVID-19 using the United States-donated Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In Caloocan City, senior citizens braved heavy rains to go to vaccination sites and be inoculated against the respiratory disease, which has so far killed nearly 27,000 in the country.
Some 10,300 Janssen vaccine doses were set to be administered in Barangay 132, one of the 22 vaccine sites designated for the elderly or those belonging to the A2 priority group.
Some residents there said they are happy to receive the single-shot vaccine, because they would no longer need to go back for their second dose.
The city government of San Juan, for its part, received 2,800 doses of the Janssen vaccine. The launch was held at the FilOil Flying V Centre, the city’s main vaccination site.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said the vaccines would be used on senior citizens and people with comorbidities until the initial supplies last.
Around 600 individuals who belong to the said priority sectors are scheduled to receive their vaccines on Wednesday.
Each vial is good for 5 individuals.
“I feel so relieved na nabakunahan ako. Nakapila ako since March... I’m leaving for abroad next month. I don’t have to wait for the second dose," said senior citizen Maria Angeles Bantegui.
“Okay lang ako sa kahit anong brand, pero nung nalaman kong J&J, masaya kasi one dose lang. Hindi ka na pupunta uli, baka ma-expose pa sa COVID,” added another vaccine recipient, Amelia Sarmiento, a person with comorbidity.
(I don't mind any brand but when I realized it's from J&J, I was so happy because I only need one dose. I no longer need to line up again, which may expose me to COVID.)
Unlike other American-made vaccines, Johnson & Johnson's jabs do not require the use of ultra low freezers, since it can be stored between 2 degrees Celsius and 8 degrees Celsius for up to 6 hours.
With the arrival of the single-shot vaccines, Zamora said San Juan City is getting closer to reaching its target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of its population by the end of August.
“Sa tulong ng J&J, magiging mabilis ito sapagkat hindi na kailangang hintayin pa ang 2nd dose nila,” the mayor said.
(J&J's vaccine could help speed up the city's vaccination drive since the need for the 2nd dose is eliminated.)
“Isa sa mga panlaban natin sa Delta variant ay ang pagbabakuna... Kaya nga po minamadali naming mabakunahan ang kabuuan ng aming populasyon sapagkat pag ito’y makamit natin ang herd immunity, mas mabibigyan ng proteksyon ang majority ng ating mga mamamayan,” he added.
(One of the things we can do to stop the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant is through vaccination. This is why we are ramping up our vaccination efforts to reach herd immunity and to protect the majority of our citizens.)
As of Tuesday, 109,066 individuals have already received their first doses of different COVID-19 vaccine brands in San Juan.
A total of 43,703 individuals or 47 percent of the target population, meanwhile, have completed their two doses.
San Juan City currently has 88 active COVID-19 cases.
- Reports from Jorge Carino and Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News