BAGUIO CITY (April 12, 2021) – Ilocos Norte officials led by Gov. Matthew Manotoc and 14 other local chief executives received their first dose of CoronaVac by Sinovac Biotech at the Governor Roque B. Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital on Friday.
This after almost 4000 medical professionals and healthcare front liners were inoculated in Ilocos Norte through a series of aggressive COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Through Advisory No. 26 of the National Vaccination Operations Center approved by the National IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, local chief executives whose jurisdiction were listed as among COVID-19 critical or high-risk areas are priority vaccinees.
Manotoc earlier expressed willingness to get vaccinated. “I would take any vaccine that’s already approved not only by the Food and Drugs Administration but also international bodies like the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control… if it would help with our frontliners, in their confidence to take it, then I would, without hesitation.”
Although provincial officials admitted that at present, even with experts leading the local government’s public information campaign, some health workers, particularly those in public hospitals in Ilocos Norte were still hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the province’s top health consultants, “the willingness among health workers in public hospitals in the province to be inoculated with the CoronaVac remained low” and “the low acceptance rate among health workers could have been affected by the controversy surrounding the efficacy of the vaccine.”
Along with Manotoc getting the vaccine were 14 mayors: of Sarrat, Pinili, Marcos, Nueva Era, Banna, Paoay, Currimao, Adams, Pagudpud, Bacarra, Piddig, and Carasi, towns; and Laoag City and Batac City.
On April 7, mayors of Dingras and Badoc towns received their first dose of vaccine. Meanwhile, San Nicolas town mayor, also a medical professional, was vaccinated last March.
The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte has been requesting the assistance of national and international leaders in the past months for the speedy purchase of COVID-19 vaccines as well as reprogramming previous year’s balances for the procurement of vaccines to benefit not only medical professionals but also grassroots frontliners.
Artemio A. Dumlao