Bohol on Friday morning started the inoculation of its tourism workers as part of the continued efforts to revive the province’s tourism industry which was one of the island’s main economic drivers prior to the pandemic.
The ceremonial vaccination was led by Governor Art Yap and tourism industry stakeholders at the Bellevue Resort in Panglao.
According to Jude Lungay of the Bohol Tourism Office’s (BTO) marketing department, around 150 tourism workers, mostly Pangalo resort employees, were inoculated on the first day of the vaccination drive.
“Sa pagkakaron amoang gi-cater mostly Panglao, from Bellevue. Among gi-cater pud ang ubang accredited and with UBE (Ultimate Bohol Experience) Seal,” she said.
Around “200 to 300” more tourism workers are expected to be jabbed on Saturday.
The vaccination drive will also cover employees from tourism-related establishments across the province.
Lungay said that health workers used Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute to inoculate the tourism workers.
On Thursday, some 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines including 5,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s Coronavac and 5,000 doses of Sputnik V were flown to Bohol.
According to Lungay, the 10,000 doses have been allocated for 5,000 tourism workers as the both Sputnik V and CoronaVac require two doses for each jab recipient.
The vaccines were allocated for Bohol through the Department of Tourism under Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and as approved by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez and testing czar Vince Dizon.
Both the provincial government under Yap and local tourism industry stakeholders have also appealed to the national government for the vaccine allocation.
Yap, in a speech during the program’s launching, thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for approving the vaccine rollout.
The governor highlighted the importance of the inoculation drive considering that tourism had been one of the province’s main economic drivers beside remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
“Words cannot express my gratitude to them because in our province our main source of livelihood is tourism,” Yap said.
“There are 81 provinces in the country. Bohol is not like Cavite, Cebu, Bulacan. Ang Cebu has tourism apan naa pud silay industriya, naay mga pabrika, laing mga economic activities. Apan diri sa Bohol, OFW ug ang tourism ra ang nagbuhi kanatong tanan,” he added.
Yap also called on the public to continue following health safety protocols to help contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and to eventually allow Bohol to be promoted as a safe tourist destination.
“We cannot vaccinate you [tourism workers] and yet our cases are rising in Bohol. The message is contradictory,” he said. “Please help campaign sa atoang lalawigan na ang tanan ipadayon ang pagsunod sa atong mga kamanduan.”
Amid the province’s aggressive efforts to revive the tourism sector, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the province has been consistently high.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 1,130 ongoing infections in the province based on data from the Capitol.