MANILA – Dr. Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi, director of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), became the first person in the country to officially receive the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine.
Along with other PGH frontliners and some of the country’s top officials, they availed of the initial shots of the Sinovac Biotech Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.
Aside from acquiring protection, their aim is to boost the confidence of the public in the vaccines.
The second dose will be administered after four weeks. The first and second doses should be of the same brand.
The vaccines also known as CoronaVac, donated by China, arrived on Sunday and are the first to be delivered to the Philippines.
Other officials who got vaccinated were Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director, Dr. Eric Domingo, and Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Benhur Abalos.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also registered for the vaccine but because of limited slots, decided to give way to PGH staff.
“Naiiyak ako kasi nalala ko ang mga kaibigan ko at kasama sa trabaho na namatay dahil sa (I cried as I remembered my friends and colleagues who died of) Covid-19”, Legaspi said, “Hindi siya ganun kaganda sa pananaw ng karamihan pero pag sinuri ng malalim maiintindihan nyo kung bakit ako ang unang nag-volunteer magpabakuna (This is not the best vaccine for many but if you will look closely, one will understand why I was the first to volunteer to receive this vaccine).”
Legaspi said he discussed with his wife and children, whom he said have allergic reactions, on why the Sinovac vaccine is safe and effective.
Infectious disease specialist and Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Director, Dr. Edsel Salvana, also received his first dose.
Salvana said he studied all aspects from the diagnostic until the therapeutic phases. He even took care of Covid-19 patients.
“Sa pag aaral namin, itong (Based on our studies, this) Sinovac, 50.4 percent is the efficacy for mild but it is 78 percent efficacious for moderate and 100 percent efficacious for severe Covid-19,” he said.
Salvana encouraged all medical frontliners and the public to take the opportunity to receive whatever vaccine is available as this will save lives.
Meanwhile, Abalos expressed his gratitude to the national government and the Chinese government for the vaccines.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso also expressed his willingness to receive the vaccine but because of protocols and prioritization, he said he expects to be vaccinated on Tuesday.
He also encouraged everyone not to let the chance pass to have themselves protected.
“We believe in the system and that the FDA did their job, and due diligence was practiced in giving the EUA (emergency use authorization). President Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) said that medical frontliners should be prioritized, so to those who have not decided yet, the global supply is limited, let us not lose the opportunity to have ourselves vaccinated,” Domagoso said.
He also reminded everyone to continue following the minimum health safety protocols, especially in public places. (PNA)