GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of South Cotabato is pushing for the opening of more vaccination sites for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the coming days to cope with the increasing vaccine deliveries from the national government.
Celia Lorenzo, disease surveillance officer of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said Thursday they are working with the rural health units (RHUs) for the identification of viable sites and the creation of additional vaccination teams.
She said the move is aimed to increase the inoculation capacity of the 10 towns and lone city and the utilization of the deployed vaccines.
“We’re really thankful because our vaccine allocation has been continually increasing and arriving on a weekly basis so we need to double our efforts to fast-track the rollout,” she said in a press conference in Koronadal City.
On Wednesday, the IPHO received some 9,930 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, the 15th delivery since March, intended for the second shots of individuals under priority groups A1 (frontline health care workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidities).
It comprised a total of 5,700 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac and 4,230 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.
In a meeting with local government and regional officials of Soccsksargen here on Tuesday, National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said some 50,830 additional vaccine doses will be delivered to the province until the end of the month.
The upcoming deliveries will be composed of 23,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, 22,600 doses of CoronaVac, and 5,230 doses of AstraZeneca.
Lorenzo said the additional vaccination sites should be in place before the scheduled delivery of these vaccines.
She said they need to catch up with the inoculation activities so the vaccines will not stay long in the IPHO cold room, which has a limited capacity.
“Our only limitation right now is the lack of vaccination team members. We need more volunteers, especially doctors as it is required to have one in every vaccination site,” she said.
Lorenzo said the RHUs are currently working on possible partnerships with volunteer groups and non-government organizations to address the problem.
As of July 21, an IPHO report said a total of 82,383 vaccines had been deployed in the province since March, with 85 percent already utilized.
Some 39,667 individuals under priority groups A1, A2, and A3 have already received their first dose while 25,811 so far completed the required two doses. (PNA)