Vaccination in Oro lasts till wee hours

By : Uriel Quilinguing Mindanao Today/03:01:56pm 12/03/2021


A medical worker administers a vaccine shot to a resident during the three-day vaccination drive in Cagayan de Oro City. (Photo grabbed from the Cagayan de Oro City Philippines FB page)

MORE than 20,000 residents trooped to 25 vaccination sites in Cagayan de Oro on Monday, November 29, on the opening of the three-day “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” campaign of the national government.

Dr. Ma. Ellen C. Santua, a senior officer of the Department of Health detailed at the City Health Office, said many were exhausted, particularly those at the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral vaccination site who went home past 2 in the morning the next day.

“Clients kept on coming and we couldn’t afford to miss opportunities,” said Santua, adding that once would-be vaccinees are not attended to, they may no longer come back.

She said that although there were two shifts (7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.) of vaccination teams at the newly-opened site at the Cathedral’s Patrick Cronin building, the screening process of clients was delayed due to technical glitches in the early hours.

“Despite starting late, about 1 p.m. in some sites due to computer glitches, we were able to vaccinate 20,100,” said Santua, adding that the surge of clients could be due to the recent no-vaccine-card-no-entry policy in malls.

A week ago, Dr. Teodoro Yu Jr, a medical officer of the CHO, said they intend to inoculate 20,000 residents everyday—including the paediatric eligible population—starting Nov. 29, the launch of “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” vaccination campaign.

Since last week, the city has breached the 10,000 mark in its daily vaccination rollouts in about 10 sites.

With 20,000 a day turnout from 20 or more sites, the city government could hit its 518,518 population target to achieve “herd immunity” by the end of the year, Yu said in one of the Covid-19 response updates at City Hall.

Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin M. Andanar of the Presidential Communication Operations Office graced the “Bayanihan, Bakuhanan” launch program at the parking area of St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, in the presence of regional and local government officials.

Rev. Fr. Coke Daryl Prieto, focal person on vaccination, who represented Archbishop Jose A. Cabantan, said the archdiocese is fully supporting the vaccination campaign, quoting Pope Francis of having said that “vaccination is an act of love.”

“Ninety-eight percent of our priests are vaccinated,” said Prieto, who is one of the 109 priests in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro which covers 68 parishes in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, and Malitbog, Bukidnon.

In April this year, Cabantan ordered the temporary closures of six parish churches for disinfections after nine priests caught the virus. One of them, succumbed to the disease while others who were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms had already recovered.

But Prieto disclosed during the launch program that one of them has been admitted in an intensive care unit due to “severe” symptoms of Covid-19. “Mindanao Today” is withholding the identity, in compliance with R.A. 10173, Data Privacy Act or R.A. 10173.

Cabantan, in a memorandum dated Aug 13, 2021 to all parish priests and school directors or directress last Aug. 13, this year, he encouraged them “to offer parish and parochial school facilities alternative (vaccination) sites.” These facilities include auditoriums, gymnasiums, parish halls, and even plazas and open spaces.

“As an institution, the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro is one with the government in its fight against the spread of the virus,” the prelate said.

In January, this year, the Bioethics Office of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral letter, stressing the need to “recognize that every person should be free to choose whether or not to vaccinate according to their conscience."

The pastoral letter stated that the CBCP respects and promotes the dignity of the individual conscience as well as the decision of conscientious objection, but “those who choose not to be vaccinated for whatever reason should be aware of their obligation to protect themselves and others from infection.”

It further reminded every church member that “to protect themselves against the further spread of the virus is every ones moral responsibility.”

Further, Most Rev. Rex C. Ramirez, who chairs the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Health Care, in another a pastoral letter on Nov. 16, 2021, urged all its members to take part in the National Vaccination Days.

Ramirez said taking part means “helping promote Covid-19 vaccination, encouraging others to avail of the vaccines, collaborating with the local governments in the use of Church spaces for the vaccination drive, and encouraging Church workers to volunteer for vaccination activities in their particular areas.

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