COVID-19 vaccines

Negros Occidental, Western Visayas cities start COVID-19 booster drive

Joseph B.A. Marzan
Negros Occidental, Western Visayas cities start COVID-19 booster drive

VACCINATION. This file photo shows Iloilo City's rollout of second doses of Sinovac at Robinsons Mall in Jaro District.

Courtesy of Arnold Almacen/Iloilo City Mayor's Office

But regional health officials have yet to orient provincial governors and city mayors on the guidelines for the administration of booster shots

Negros Occidental and Bacolod City started giving fully vaccinated frontliners or the A1 priority group their COVID-19 booster shots on Wednesday, November 17, provincial and city officials announced. 

Iloilo City is set to start the process on Thursday, November 18. Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas told Rappler they were still awaiting the National Vaccines Operation Center’s (NVOC) guidelines.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr.’s office said the Department of Health (DOH) Western Visayas will hold a virtual meeting with provincial governors and city mayors on Thursday to orient them on the guidelines for the administration of COVID-19 booster shots.

Defensor’s office released the DOH memorandum calling for the meeting.

As of Tuesday, November 16, both Negros Occidental and Bacolod City were still waiting for guidelines from the NVOC, according to Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz and Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) deputy head Dr. Chris Sorongon.

As of this writing, there were no figures yet of the number of booster shots administered, but Bacolod City EOC head Em Ang told Rappler that they were expecting to provide third doses to 16,665 frontliners.

According to a November 15 letter by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Eric Domingo to DOH spokesperson Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire, authorized booster shots are limited to the following:

  • healthcare workers frequently or occupationally exposed to COVID-19;
  • senior citizens and immunocompromised persons over 18 years of age; and
  • persons from 18 to 60 years old with comorbidities.

The FDA also recently granted emergency use authorization to four vaccine makers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer, SinoVac, and Sputnik Light – for their third doses. –Rappler.com

Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist from Iloilo City and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.