COVID-19 vaccines could arrive in the province as early as March, a Tagbilaran City health official said.
Tagbilaran City Health Office (CHO) chief Dr. Jeia Pondoc, during the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s regular session on Friday last week, reported to lawmakers that vaccines procured by the national government will be shipped to the province by “March or April” based on the city’s correspondence with the Department of Health (DOH).
The CHO however has not been informed on how many doses will be shipped to the province and which pharmaceutical company will be supplying these.
“The national government said that in March magsugod na sila og hatag sa share [nato], nipass mi og pila ang target na dili nato ma supplyan basin mo supply sila sa number na atong gihatag,” she said.
Based on Malacañang’s earlier pronouncements that vaccines from China will be the first to be available in the country, it is likely that it would be the Sinovac jab that will be arriving in March, Pondoc added.
The DOH is expected to start to transmit guidelines to local government units on the handling and storage of the vaccine this month.
“At the end of the month, mohatag og guidelines ang DOH for LGUs kung unsay buhaton and then February information dissemination,” said Pondoc.
Meanwhile, the vaccines ordered by the Tagbilaran City government from British drugmaker AstraZeneca are set to arrive in July at the earliest.
“Daghan na kuno kaayo ang nang order nila [AstraZeneca] dili na maapas so nagkuyog ta sa ubang LGUs pud outside Bohol na sa third quarter na mahatagan,” she said.
The city has ordered 24,000 doses from the UK-based pharmaceutical firm through a P15-million budget set aside by the LGU.
Pondoc noted that the city’s vaccination drive will prioritize medical frontliners and senior citizens who will voluntarily choose to be inoculated.
She said that even health workers may decline to be vaccinated or choose which jab they prefer.
“Those who are willing can have it, pero kung dili ka dili pud mo pugos. They have to sign a consent na mo-wait sila na di sa sila hatagan pud,” she said. (A. Doydora)