GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Department of Health in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) (DOH-12) said the CoronaVac vaccines manufactured by Sinovac from China are scheduled to arrive on Friday (March 5) morning via Cotabato City.

This, as it mobilized immunization program teams of local government units (LGUs) in preparation for the arrival of the first batch of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines for the region.

Arjohn Gangoso, DOH-12 health education, and promotion officer said Thursday the vaccines will be distributed starting Saturday to the provinces and cities of Region 12.

He said they are still waiting for the exact number of vaccine doses that will be included in the first batch.

Dr. Aristides Tan, DOH-Region 12 director, said in an advisory the vaccines will be brought upon arrival to the cold storage facility of the regional office in Cotabato City for proper inventory.

He said these will then be transferred to the concerned provincial, city, and municipal health offices.

Tan said that based on protocol, immunization program coordinators and cold chain managers of the LGUs will formally accept the vaccines.

It will be witnessed by concerned local officials and the media to ensure the transparency of the rollout process.

“The (RHUs) will take charge of the distribution and conduct of the vaccination in the identified Covid-19 referral hospitals,” he said.

DOH-12 has listed a total of 8,705 healthcare workers assigned in 23 referral hospitals in Soccsksargen as eligible for the Sinovac inoculation.

In this city, it identified some 3,138 workers, comprising medical and health professionals - as well as staff members of five private and one public hospital - as the top priority.

The St. Elizabeth Hospital Inc. here topped the list with 697 eligible workers, followed by the city government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca with 670, General Santos Doctor’s Hospital Inc. with 527, Socsargen County Hospital with 521, Mindanao Medical Center with 380 and GenSan Medical Center with 343. (PNA