MANILA, Feb 3 (Mabuhay) — The employees of the country’s three main COVID-19 referral hospitals will be the first to be inoculated against the coronavirus this month as the country gears up for the start of its mass vaccination campaign.

These referral centers are the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, and the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (Tala Hospital) in Caloocan City.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said all staff will be vaccinated and not just the health workers.

“Kasi ospital ito e. Sasabihin mo, binigyan mo ang doktor, binigyan mo ang nurse. Hindi mo binigyan ‘yung mga admin staff. E papaano kung nagkasakit lahat ng mga ‘yan, hindi rin makakatrabaho ‘yung mga doktor. Kaya institutional ang gusto natin maasikaso rito, ma-preserve, ‘yung institutional safety,” he said.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. also said health workers and personnel of the East Avenue Medical Center will be included in the initial rollout.

The Philippines expects to receive at least 5.6 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines in the first quarter of the year.

The 117,000 doses from Pfizer will cover 58,500 people, while the 5.5 million doses from AstraZeneca are enough for 2.75 million people.

The excess doses from the initial rollout will be deployed to other hospitals in Metro Manila.

“Metro Manila lang muna dahil ito naman ang epicenter. Titingnan natin kung puwede rin ang Cebu and Davao dahil dito ang mga epicenters din sa labas ng Metro Manila,” Duque said.

The Health Secretary added that the country will follow the vaccination priority list of the World Health Organization:

  • Frontline health workers (1.76 million)
  • Indigent senior citizens (3.79 million)
  • Remaining senior citizens (5.68 million)
  • Remaining indigent population (12.91 million)
  • Uniformed personnel (525,523)

“‘Yung dalawang sectors na ‘yan ‘pag inuna mo, ang laking solusyon na mailalatag natin sa pandemyang ito,” Duque said.

Meanwhile, Senator Bong Go said he will help the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine find the P362-million fund it needs for genome sequencing.

“Handa po akong makiusap sa ating mahal na Pangulo sa taon na ‘to na malagyan po ng pondo at kakausapin ko rin po si Secretary [Wendel] Avisado ng DBM kasi hindi na po ito makakaantay ng 2022,” he said. (MNS)

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