“The confidence level is rising at nakikita naman nila na wala naman negative side effects ang bakuna.”
This was disclosed by Dr. Anna Maria Teresa de Guzman in the web-based question hour conducted during the 60th regular session of the Pangasinan Provincial Board on March 22 which aimed to provide update on the programs being undertaken by the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (PIATF) to contain the surge of COVID-19 cases in Pangasinan.
In her statement, Dr. de Guzman said that some 1,758 health workers out of 2,937 in the 14 government-run hospitals have already been vaccinated to date. Of this number, administrative staff of each hospital were included. This, she noted, translates to over 59 % accomplishment out of the 2,937 eligible target population for vaccination.
On the part of some private hospitals in Pangasinan, the provincial health officer disclosed that 1,462 health workers were vaccinated.
Also, two rural health units (RHUs) specifically the Lingayen RHU has vaccinated 203 frontline health workers and Bani RHU has vaccinated 40.
“We are doing levelling-up of understanding through information dissemination,” Dr. de Guzman said even as she urged Pangasinenses to not easily get engage or believe in fake news but listen only on reliable pronouncements coming from the World Health Organization (WHO) or any related and credible organizations.
As to the status of the Molecular Laboratory of the province, Dr. de Guzman reported that the laboratory is running on one shift. “Anim pa lang ang medical technologists natin and it would take six hours to run the entire process. Dahil dito, we are recruiting more Med Techs para magkaroon tayo ng 2nd shift,” she disclosed adding that four additional medical technologists are scheduled for online training and after which attend onsite training at BGH.
In addition, Dr. de Guzman cleared that since the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Baguio General Hospital (BGH) still exists, swab samples are sent to the latter to facilitate faster results. “Sa BGH, lumalabas na rin ng 36 hours and result,” she said.
With regards to the recall of the vaccines by the national government, the provincial health officer disclosed that the Department of Health (DOH) assured that vaccines will be returned to the province and are expected to arrive this last week of March and on the second week of April. She stated that the vaccines were recalled by the health department to augment the demands in Metro Manila where active cases drastically rose.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Rhodyn Luchinvar Oro, on the other hand, stressed that the PIATF drafted an executive order (EO) to be approved by Governor Amado I. Espino III being the chair. Said EO was drafted to further strengthen guidelines on how local government units (LGUs) respond to the demands on occasions like the coming Lenten season.
As such, Col. Oro mentioned that COVID-19 positive cases in Pangasinan over the last three days (March 19-21) showed an increasing total number of active case with 153 cases on March 19 (Friday), 196 on March 20 (Saturday), and 217 on March 21 (Sunday).
With the increase active cases over the last three days, Col. Oro said the provincial task force is keen on further strengthening guidelines and protocols. However, he cleared that reverting back to GCQ status is not being considered as of the moment. “We are doing all effort to pro-actively work on possible scenario,” he said as he disclosed that pro-active plan was earlier developed by the technical working group.
Col. Oro also stated that local government units (LGUs) pledged their support by submitting their micro-plans on the vaccination drive of the provincial government.
On the part of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Office, Col. Ronald Gayo said that all border checkpoints are continuously being manned. However, he suggested that frontline health workers should also render duty on border checkpoints. “Sana ibalik ang naka-establish na health units sa lahat ng border checkpoints para ma-assess nila ang mga pumapasok na tao maski magcheck man lang ng temperature,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of the provincial board were one in saying that the key to lessen or contain positive cases in the province is to observe health standard at all times and proper discipline.
“We should work as one team together with the private hospitals as we, in the provincial board continually hold update and reach the doorsteps of the people of Pangasinan,” Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Jeremy Agerico Rosario, chair on health, said. (Ruby R. Bernardino/Photo by Jin Perez)