The national vaccination program that kickstarted simultaneously in different hospitals and facilities on Monday is a "firm testament" of the government's commitment to protecting Filipinos, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.
Sobejana witnessed the start of the immunization campaign at the V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City where about 30 military and civilian medical front-liners have been vaccinated.
Among the first to receive the shot, administered by Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, was Col. Fatima Claire Navarro, a doctor, and the hospital's commanding officer.
She was followed by two other doctors, Lt. Col. Cynthia Liao of the nuclear medicine unit, and Maj. Joel Lorenzo Rollo from the psychiatric department.
In an interview, Navarro said getting vaccinated would protect her from the dreaded disease and prevent her from being hospitalized due to severe illness.
"Wala akong naramdaman na kakaiba (I felt nothing strange) after the vaccination, no feeling of heaviness, walang anything na masakit (there is no pain) and even 'yung pag-inject ng bakuna walang unusual (and even during the injection, I felt nothing unusual)," Navarro said.
Citing studies, she said the vaccines, regardless of the brand and manufacturer, have been found effective in combating the coronavirus.
Around 600 doses of China-donated CoronaVac vaccines were allocated to the hospital.
Sobejana lauded the "collective forces and cooperation of government agencies" led by President Rodrigo R. Duterte for this initiative.
He also urged the troops to support the vaccination program.
"I urge our troops to not waver in their support of the vaccination program along with our mandate of protecting our people and securing the land. Let us serve to strengthen our nation's trust in our government's effort to wholly (solve) this health crisis so that we will rise from the ground as one," Sobejana said.
Meantime, AFP spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said vaccination would follow in other primary health care facilities catering to Covid-19 patients in the military's major branches of service at the National Capital Region.
"For the Philippine Army, it will be at the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio. Doctor Col. Joel Anastacio, the hospital’s commanding officer, will lead the ceremonial vaccination together with his team of medical health front-liners," he added.
For the Philippine Navy, vaccination will be held at the Manila Naval Hospital in Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig City.
"Priority amongst AFP personnel remains to be the medical health front-liners. We will be grateful with whatever number of vaccine shots will be shared to the AFP," Arevalo said.
Source: Philippines News Agency