PGH director to be first to receive Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine


Posted at Mar 01 2021 09:33 AM | Updated as of Mar 01 2021 09:54 AM

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MANILA - The director of the Philippine General Hospital will receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the country, the hospital's spokesman said Monday.

PGH will "kick off" its vaccination on Monday with 100 inoculations after the first batch of coronavirus shots by Sinovac Biotech arrived on Sunday, said Dr. Jonas Del Rosario.

Dr. Gerardo "Gap" Legaspi will be the first recipient of the coronavirus jab, said Del Rosario, who was earlier reported to be the first in line. 

Del Rosario, who was infected with COVID-19 last year, said his latest tests showed he still had a high amount of antibodies, so the advice to him was to wait as he was not a priority for vaccination. He added it is still uncertain whether Sinovac is given to coronavirus survivors.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Edsel Salvana and other hospital consultants who "probably have a lot of pull or convincing power" will also be in the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine recipients, he said.

Del Rosario said initially, close to 10 percent of PGH workers said they were willing to receive the Sinovac vaccine, while 90 percent said they preferred a different jab. However, this may still increase, he said.

"We have a feeling that once people see some of these doctors coming in, coming forward for the inoculation, I think the numbers will increase," he said.

As the Food and Drug Administration approved Sinovac's vaccine for emergency use last week, Director General Eric Domingo said it is not recommended for health care workers exposed to COVID-19 due to its lower efficacy rate of 50.4%. 

However, the interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) later announced that it was recommending the use of Sinovac for this group despite FDA's earlier reservations.