LAOAG CITY—Hundreds of senior citizens mostly from this city received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, July 20, at the mega vaccination site inside the gymnasium of the Divine Word College of Laoag (DWCL).
Organized by the Ilocos Norte vaccination team led by Dr. Norman Rabago in his capacity as head consultant, the first and largest vaccination rollout in the province focused on the elderly who are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms of the Covid-19.
Of the total 5,315 Covid-19 cases with 98 deaths logged in Ilocos Norte as of July 18, the Provincial Health Task Force reported that 80 percent of the patients were elderly, as well as persons with comorbidities.
To augment the city government’s initial vaccination rollout at the Laoag City General Hospital and the Holy Spirit Academy to its priority A1, A2, and A3 categories, Rabago said they have sought the help of more health volunteers, as well as the DWCL to provide a more spacious and well-ventilated venue to accommodate more than a thousand vaccinees per day.
“Upon the request of our governor, we were able to secure around 5,000 doses of vaccines from the Department of Health, which we expect to administer to our priority list groups under A1, A2, and A3 categories starting July 20 until Saturday, July 24,” said Rabago in an interview on Tuesday while supervising the administration of AstraZeneca vaccines to senior citizens.
With barely three days of preparation, Rabago said they were able to encourage more seniors to get vaccinated this time.
Once hesitant to receive the vaccine against Covid-19 for fear of its reported side effects, Helen Ribao Abad, 75, from Barangay Pila, Laoag City said she was finally convinced by her son on Friday to have her name listed as one of the vaccinees.
“I felt relieved, my first dose is done. I look forward to my second dose of vaccine on September 22, which will coincide with my birthday,” she said after receiving her first shot from a volunteer health worker who made sure she was comfortably seated and relaxed while waiting for her turn to get the vaccine.
After registering himself in various online registration sites and at the village level, another senior and a person with disability, Marino Guieb from Laoag City said he is thankful to the provincial government’s vaccination team for helping Laoag City reduce its vaccination backlog.
“The mega vaccination rollout is very organized and efficient. I never heard any complaint from my fellow seniors because when we arrived at the site a few minutes before our schedule, chairs were already pre-arranged, waiting to be occupied by batch. Once seated, the vaccinators and some volunteer health workers move around to assist us in the vaccination process—from filling out forms to getting the jab, which took us an average of one hour and we’re done,” said Guieb as he narrated his experience at the vaccination site.
While expecting the arrival of more vaccines, Rabago said they hope to establish more mega vaccination sites in other towns and cities of Ilocos Norte where the infection is high.
“After Laoag, we are planning to set up another mega vaccination site in Batac City as well as in some other towns if they need us to augment,” said Rabago as he expressed gratitude to the DWCL management and staff for their swift action to host the largest vaccination rollout site in the province so far. PNA