Health workers in Region 1 get jab to protect patients, family

Health workers in Region 1 get jab to protect patients, family

DAGUPAN CITY – Most of the healthcare workers in Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC) here who were vaccinated with the first batch of Sinovac vaccines said they got it to protect themselves, the patients, and their families.

“I feel privileged and happy to be one of the recipients of Sinovac vaccine. This is for my family, my patients. Thank you DOH (Department of Health), thank you R1MC,” said Dr. Agnes Dimaano, a medical specialist from the Department of Pediatrics in R1MC.

Dimaano was the first to be inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine in Pangasinan and in the entire Ilocos Region.

“I am so happy being vaccinated. I expose myself daily with Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) with my mask and face shield as my only protection. Now with the vaccine, I am more confidently safe caring and treating patients with Covid-19. Humanity wins over viruses,” said Dr. Rowena Virrey, infectious disease medical specialist.

Dr. May Fernandez Gonzales, dermatologist at R1MC, said she got vaccinated along with two of her family members.

“This also became a family affair since I had it with my sister and brother-in-law. We encourage more healthcare workers to get the vaccine for your family, patients, and other people you mingle with,” she said.

Dr. John Fernandez, a pediatric intensivist, said he chose to be vaccinated as he believed it would help him better protect his family, his critically-ill pediatric patients, his co-workers, and his own health.

The vaccine acceptability among frontline health workers in the eight referral hospitals in the Ilocos Region, including R1MC, is increasing amid the arrival of doses of vaccines in the region, according to DOH Center for Health and Development Ilocos regional office (DOH-CHD-1) information officer Dr. Rheuel Bobis.

In an interview on Tuesday, Bobis said that from the 41-percent acceptability prior to the arrival of the vaccines, the percentage of health workers who want to be inoculated is increasing daily.

“They are excited for the vaccines as this is a big step in getting immunity against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). They are also glad as they now have a new weapon against the virus,” he said.

On Monday night, some 25,600 doses of both Sinovac and Astrazeneca vaccines arrived at the DOH-CHD-1 office here.

Bobis said the 10,000 doses of Astrazeneca vaccines will be given to the frontline medical workers aged 60 and above in the eight referral hospitals in the region, while the 14,400 Sinovac vaccines will be distributed to the medical workers both in public and private hospitals in the region catering to Covid-19 patients.

“We will prioritize with Astrazeneca vaccines the senior citizen medical workers who have direct exposure to Covid-19 patients in the eight referral hospitals since Sinovac is prohibited to senior citizens. The new batch of Sinovac vaccines will be distributed today to the Provincial Health Office of La Union and Lorma Medical Center and other private and district hospitals in La Union, Ilocos Norte, and Dagupan City and tomorrow at Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan,” he added.

The 1,200 doses, Bobis said, are allocated for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Naval Forces Northern Luzon.

“It is part of the 100,000 Sinovac vaccine allocation of the Department of National Defense,” he said.

Bobis also attributed the increasing vaccine acceptability among medical front-liners in the eight referral hospitals to the effects of the vaccine to the first batch of workers inoculated.

Out of the over 2,000 frontline health workers inoculated with Sinovac vaccine as of Monday, only seven of them experienced minor side effects that are common and not life-threatening, he said.

“On the fourth day of our vaccination with Sinovac among health workers in the eight coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) referral hospitals in the region, seven health workers experienced respectively, the heaviness of the arm, redness and or irritation in the area vaccinated, and one with fever,” he added.

Bobis said these side effects are expected to go away in a couple of days. Hilda Austria / PNA –