A total of 4,990 tourism industry frontliners from all over the province were inoculated with their first dose of the Russian-made Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik-V, primarily at the Modala Beach Resort in Panglao as part of efforts to reinvigorate the local economy by promoting the province as a safe haven for tourists.
The initial 5,000 doses of Gamaleya Research Institute’s Sputnik V were part of the 10,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses that arrived at the Bohol Panglao International Airport on June 16, 2021 and were supposedly allocated by the national government for tourism workers. Half of the batch comprised of 5,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac from China.
According to Governor Arthur Yap, the 10,000 doses of Sputnik V and Coronavac vaccines were allocated for the tourism workers but were given to the City of Tagbilaran to complete the senior citizen’s vaccination as requested by City Mayor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap.
Now considered front-liners, tourism workers are listed among the A1 category together with healthcare workers as a priority for COVID-19 vaccines.
According to Joanne Pinat of the Bohol Tourism Council, 4,990 workers from 215 Department of Tourism (DOT) and Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) accredited establishments and related service providers got their jabs as 10 doses of the Sputnik vaccines were considered “wastage”.
Eighty percent of those who had their first jabs came from Panglao while the rest were tourist workers from Loboc, Carmen, Bilar, and Anda, according to Pinat.
Several hotels offered their services as vaccination sites but only two resorts – Modala Resort Hotel and Bellevue Bohol Resort passed the accreditation criteria of the Department of Health (DOH).
However, only 450 workers were vaccinated at Bellevue in two days due to previously scheduled engagements while Modala Resort was the preferred DOH vaccination center since it passed the stringent requirements for Sputnik V which were required room temperatures, no exposure to sunlight, and can accommodate a daily 600 workers to maximize the use of the vaccines.
With over 200,000 tourism displaced workers scrounging for a living, the initial 5,000 workers welcomed the vaccination efforts of the provincial and national government as Bohol prepares as part of the “travel bubble or “travel corridors” that will allow visitors and tourists to fly directly and move freely at their favorite tourist destinations.
A big step by industry stakeholders in the calibrated reopening of the moribund tourism industry battered by the pandemic, the vaccination program pushed by the DOT will assure the protection of hotel and resort staff, transport operators, tour site and restaurant facility employees against the deadly virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease COVID-19.
Modala Beach Resort opened its doors to tourist workers as a vaccination center for free as management played a different role than its tourism function in reducing the impact of epidemic risks caused by the rampaging virus.
For eleven days starting June 22, 2021, Modala Beach Resort located at Purok 5, Barangay Doljo, Panglao provided workers with its plush facilities as its “contribution to promoting it as an innovation in tourism activities,” according to Rommel Gonzalez, General Manager.
The second dose of Sputnik V will be administered 21 days after the 1st dose still at Modala Beach Resort. (Chito M. Visarra)