In what could be seen as a boost to get more Filipinos convinced to get vaccinated, St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) in Quezon City and Bonifactio Global City (BGC) have requested for 5,000 doses of the Sinovac-made vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday.
In a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and his pandemic response managers, Galvez said SLMC President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Arturo De La Peña, texted him about his interest to get 5,000 healthcare workers and employees inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine, which was donated by China to the Philippines.
“We were surprised. St. Luke’s asked for 5,000 doses to inoculate their 5,000 workers. St. Luke’s used to say they preferred Pfizer but Dr. [De La] Peña texted me and now we’re going to have a mini rollout in St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global and Quezon City to create an uptick,” said Galvez, who is chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, in Filipino.
Duterte, for his part, thanked St. Luke’s officials for their cooperation in helping boost confidence in the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program.
“If St. Luke’s will join, then we’ll thank them. They can also help spread really the vaccine as fast as it can be accommodated by the time and motion of a human being,” he added.
On Sunday, the Philippines received the initial 600,000 doses of Sinovac-made CoronaVac vaccines donated by China to the Philippines in a simple turnover ceremony led by Duterte at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.
Sinovac’s CoronaVac is the third Covid-19 vaccine brand after Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use.
The government kicked off its Covid-19 vaccination drive on Monday with shots administered to some frontline healthcare workers at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and ranking government officials.
UP-PGH Director Dr. Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi was the first person to receive the CoronaVac vaccine. He was vaccinated by nurse Chareluck Santos.
Galvez and FDA Director General Eric Domingo were also administered with the Sinovac vaccine.
Apart from PGH, simultaneous vaccinations were held in five other hospitals in Metro Manila namely, Lung Center of the Philippines, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Center and Sanitarium, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Philippine National Police General Hospital, and Victoriano Luna Medical Center.
Health authorities are hopeful that vaccine confidence will increase once more medical workers get their Covid-19 jabs.