July 13, 2024

The city is on the final wave in the vaccination of priorities A1, A2, and A3 population, as it now prepares to vaccinate the larger target group of A4 composed of the employed sector, pending the issuance of guidelines from the national Inter-Agency Task Force.

In its last mile call for the focus groups, the City Health Services Office (CHSO) has urged all remaining frontline healthcare workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), and persons with co-morbidity (A3) to have themselves vaccinated by registering at bakuna.baguio.gov.ph and wait for the text message from the CHSO on their schedule of vaccination, which will be done in the four mega vaccination sites, which cover respective barangay districts.

On the other hand, CHSO Health Risk Communication Team leader Cecile Agpawa called on the A4 group to wait for the schedule and register in the meantime to facilitate the scheduling and allocation of vaccine supply once it arrives in the city.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong on June 14 said they hope to receive more vaccines up to the end of the week and be able to start on the A4 priority group.

The city received night of June 15 the first batch of the Pfi-zer vaccine, composed of 35,100 doses, and additional Sinovac vaccines.

It is currently administering four vaccine brands – Sinovac; AstraZeneca; the first 300 doses of Gamaleya Sputnik, which have all been used up; and Pfizer, which started last week.

Agpawa said the city is currently focused on reaching the rest of the senior citizens.

CHSO Nurse V Sonia Insas reported only half of the target number of the A2 group have been vaccinated, at 15,673 senior citizens or 56.25 percent of the master-listed A2 target.

For the A1, the city has listed 18,592 healthcare workers and 76.88 percent of them are scheduled for second dose.

The city does not have a master list of the A3 group, but are counted as they register. So far, 16,291 persons with co-morbidity have registered, and 11,181 of them have received first dose and 69 percent are for second dose.

As for A4, Insas said the schedule will be in phases. Phase 1 will cover the National Capital Region Plus and the rest of the provinces including Baguio City will be under phase 2.

“So far, there is no directive yet when it will start, so we ask the A4 group to register while waiting for the schedule,” Insas said.

The city has vaccinated 41,810 individuals as of June 15, out of the targeted 79,201 from the A1 to A3 groups.

Agpawa said the city is capable of vaccinating 1,000 individuals per day per site or 4,000 a day from the four vaccination sites. But this target is not being achieved because of the limited supply of vaccine the city receives.

“We do not have a timeline for the arrival of vaccines. Sometimes we only have 2,000 vaccines per week,” Agpawa said.

She added they have observed acceptance of the vaccine drive has improved as shown by the number of people lining up to be inoculated. They have noted some individuals were choosing a particular brand of vaccine, although they explain to them that the best vaccine brand remains to be the one that is available.

Agpawa said the challenge now is how to sustain the interest of those who come to the vaccination sites but were not vaccinated because they do not qualify for the A1 to A3 groups when screened onsite or lack requirements such as pre-registration.

Right now, she said they are employing various strategies to have an organized system and avoid the long lines in the vaccination sites.

“Our focus is coming up with the best strategy to improve the services at the vaccination sites. We are trying everything so expect that each site will have different strategies until we came up with the most effective way to avoid the long lines. We ask for the public’s cooperation,” Agpawa said, adding they wanted to make the paperless vaccination passport employed in some of the vaccinees applicable to everyone, as it contains a QR code and the details about the vaccination of the registrant.

The city currently administers vaccines four times a week, Tuesdays to Fridays, at SLU Gym, UB Gym, SLS-St. Vincent, and SM; and is eyeing to add one more site at the Baguio Country Club that was launched last June 12, hopefully to cover residents from adjacent barangays. – Hanna C. Lacsamana