The provincial government of Negros Occidental targets to vaccinate 1.5 million Negrenses or 70 percent of its population, following assurance of vaccine supply from the national government, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II said Tuesday, Feb. 9.
As the province prepares the detailed list of recipients, Diaz said Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson has requested three million doses of vaccine to meet the target number of people. The vaccination, he said, will be done wave by wave.
About 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive second or third week of February, to be followed by a shipment of 3.5 million to 9 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in March, Diaz said, quoting reports of the Department of Health.
While the province is not optimistic to receive a share of Pfizer vaccine shipment, with metro cities being prioritized for its distribution due to requirements of cold storage, Diaz said there is a big chance Negros Occidental will get a share from the AstraZeneca shipment.
However, the share of AstraZeneca will only be enough for the frontline health workers of the province, he said.
“We rely on consultant, former Rep. Albee Benitez, and other Negros Occidental solons to help us secure a reasonable share,” Diaz added.
From its own budget, the provincial government has already purchased 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine which is expected to arrive in the province in the third quarter of 2021, he said.
Diaz said per the advice of the DOH, they are getting ready for the inoculation of frontline health workers, who will be the first to get Covid-19 jabs in the province.
The provincial government is also assisting local government units in enlisting eligible persons for vaccination based on the guidelines of the DOH.
“The primary consideration now is registration. Without that registration, you cannot be vaccinated. It’s a requirement,” Diaz said.
The registration will run until the end of February, giving the provincial government enough time to enlist those in the priority sectors.
Diaz said as early as two weeks ago, he requested the Provincial Health Office to submit a detailed list of persons identified and registered by every LGU under its own system.
“I’m expecting that when we finally meet with the mayors all these details, including the list of names, are already prepared with the roll-out plan,” he said.
The provincial government is also preparing their vaccinators and vaccination centers, which will include rural health centers.
During a recent virtual meeting between vaccine czar Carlito Galvez and the League of Provinces of the Philippines, that was also attended by Health Secretary Francisco Duque, Diaz said that the national government announced that it will provide consumables, such as syringes, needles, cottons and alcohol.
According to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, frontline health workers in both national and local and private and public facilities are included in Priority Group “A1” along with health professionals and non-professionals like students, nursing aides, janitors, and barangay health workers.
Senior citizens are listed under Priority Group “A2,” while persons with comorbidities are under Priority Group “A3”. – GB