Bacolodnons encouraged to get anti-COVID shots
Vaccination is the only way to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic; that is why public cooperation with the vaccination program is necessary, according to League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) national president Mayor Evelio Leonardia.
This was among the major issues raised by Leonardia during the Liveable Cities Challenge (LCC) webinar titled, “Getting Cities Ready for the Vaccines,” held Wednesday [February 24] and organized by LCC chairman Guillermo ‘Bill’ Luz.
Aside from Leonardia the webinar, attended by 500 officials, also featured three other mayors: Mayor Joy Bellmonte of Quezon City, Mayor Abby Binay of Makati City, and Mayor Richard Gomez of Ormoc City.
The Bacolod City mayor said people should be more open about getting vaccinated as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines looms.
“They should allow themselves to get vaccinated because without their cooperation and their acceptance and if they don’t embrace this vaccination programs, where else do we go?” said Leonardia during the webinar.
The webinar is a continuation of a series that aim to equip city officials with knowledge and insights for designing better solutions for their communities in view of the pandemic.
In his presentation, Leonardia said that Bacolod targets to vaccinate 68 percent of its total population, or 424,992 individuals.
The remaining 32 percent is comprised of 18 years old and below who cannot be vaccinated.
There are 40 vaccination centers identified in the city; and each center can have a daily maximum target of 500 vaccines, or an estimated 20,000 individuals a day if the program goes full speed.
Leonardia also highlighted the strong public-private partnership in the city, as shown by the several offers from private sector members to use their facilities as vaccination sites.
Several medical schools and organizations have also expressed their commitment to augment the vaccination manpower of the city, the mayor added.
Bacolod was among the first cities in the country to negotiate for its own COVID-19 vaccines. It already has reserved 650,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to kick off its vaccination program, making it among the top five cities in the country with the biggest vaccine orders, together with Davao City, Quezon City, Makati City, and the City of Manila.
Aside from AstraZeneca, Leonardia is also negotiating with other pharmaceutical companies that are developing COVID-19 vaccines.
In early February, Bacolod held its vaccination simulation exercises at the Barangay Villamonte gymnasium. Observers from the Department of Health–Western Visayas (DOH-6) commended the city’s vaccination process for its smooth flow and observance of health protocols.
Moreover, Bacolod was among the first LGUs in the country to establish a vaccination council, The COVID-19 Vaccination Council (CoVaC) was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 83 issued by Leonardia on December 22, 2020.
On Monday [Feb. 22], Bacolod had made an advance initial payment of P31 million to AstraZeneca for the 650,000 doses of vaccines it contracted with the pharmaceutical company.
The initial payment represents 20 percent of the total price of the 650,000 doses of the vaccines.
Leonardia also disclosed at the LCC- LCP webinar that members of the private sector also expressed their intention to help strengthen the information education campaign (IEC) of the city on public acceptance of the vaccines.
The Bacolod Vaccination Council (CoVaC) had launched on Monday [Feb. 22] its daily interactive webinar to answer questions from the public about the COVID-19 vaccines. The series of webinars feature medical doctors who have expertise on vaccines.
Lectures and training for the vaccinators who will administer COVID-19 vaccines have also been conducted./WDJ