DOH MIMAROPA regional director Dr. Mario Baquilod. // Photo screengrabbed from DOH CHD MIMAROPA Facebook page

The Department of Health (DOH) MIMAROPA Regional Office maintains that there were no delays in the delivery of Sinovac vaccines to the region and that coordination with local hospitals went smoothly and as planned.

In a virtual presser held Thursday (March 4), DOH regional director Dr. Mario Baquilod justified the schedule of the delivery of vaccines to different regions was facilitated smoothly.

“Hindi naman it took us so long. Dumating ang mga bakuna natin noong Sunday, February 28, and then the following day nag-start ang NCR mag-launch ng kanilang vaccination. That was March 1 and 2, and then nag-roll out sila March 3. Sa 16 regions, ‘di kasama ang NCR, nag-start na ang delivery noong March 4. Hindi naman katagalan ang nangyari,” he said.

He added that the final vaccination rollout target for all regions is on Sunday, March 7.

DOH-MIMAROPA medical officer Dr. Mathew Medrano added during the presser that coordination with the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) and the Puerto Princesa City government went smoothly and they did not encounter any problem.

“We were at close coordination with the hospital [ONP] as well as with Puerto Princesa City. We didn’t have any issues with that. They had their master list, maganda naman ang naging usapan namin ng mga LGUs (local government units) and the hospitals. The data that we received, ‘yon ang ginamit namin for our allocation,” he said. 

Sinovac vaccines are finally arriving in MIMAROPA provinces on Friday, March 5, as confirmed by Baquilod. He stated that Palawan will receive 1,200 doses and Puerto Princesa City will receive 3,600 doses. The arrival marks the start of the DOH’s COVID-19 vaccination program in the region, five days after Sinopharm’s arrival in the country last February 28.

“The [Philippine] Air Force will transport the vaccines to the province of Palawan. Pagdating ng mga bakuna sa ating mga ports and airports, ididiretso ito sa mga Provincial Health Office na nandoon ang ating mga refrigerators kasi we have to maintain the cold chain,” said Baquilod. (with reports from Romar Miranda)