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Dr. Nerissa Sabarre, Covid-19 Referral Facility%u2019s Incident Command team leader, is the first vaccine recipient in Pasig City. Mayor Vico Sotto kick-starts the city%u2019s vaccination program at Pasig City General Hospital on Tuesday (March 2, 2021) / PNA

Pasig doctor says vaccine brings hope 

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The rollout of the government's coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program brings hope that the pandemic will end soon, a medical front-liner in Pasig City said a report by Philippine News Agency.

"Narito na po ang bakuna. Narito na po yung pag-asa natin. Ito ang bakuna na malaking tulong sa paglaban sa pandemyang ito. May kalayaan tayong pumili pero ang mahalaga ay may bakuna na (The vaccine is here. Our hope is here. This is the vaccine that will greatly help us in fighting the pandemic. We are free to choose [which vaccine we want] but what is important is we now have a vaccine," Dr. Nerissa Sabarre, head of the Pasig City Covid-19 Referral Center, told reporters shortly after her vaccination at the Pasig City General Hospital Outpatient Department.

Sabarre said being injected with the Chinese-made CoronaVac was her personal choice.

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"Walang pong pilitang nangyari dito (No prodding or pressure of any kind took place to make me consider the vaccine)," she added.

Sabarre said the Covid-19 vaccine would be a big help in the ongoing fight against the pandemic.

Four other medical professionals were inoculated with the Chinese-made vaccines –Bernadette Bajit, Ian Anthony M. Castro, Karla Kristel Banares, and Brenda Lizaro.

The Pasig City General Hospital was earlier allocated with 300 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac for the inoculation of an initial 150 medical personnel.

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Meanwhile, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto, who was present in the event along with National Task Force (NTF) Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon, said he is willing to have himself vaccinated once he is allowed to do so. 

"Kapag panahon ko na po sa 'prioritization guidelines' natin at sabihin ng DOH (Department of Health) na pwede na ko, anytime okay naman ako (When it is my time to be included in the prioritization guidelines and I am told by the DOH that I could get vaccinated, I am okay with that anytime)," Sotto said when asked if he was willing to have himself vaccinated to help reduce the Filipinos' hesitancy in getting inoculated.

He said the confidence level on the Sinovac vaccine "has no way to go but up" with the vaccination of Sabarre and other health professionals.

Meanwhile, he said the city continues to gear up for the arrival of more Covid-19 vaccines.

"We are talking about the global supply chain here. There are many factors that are beyond our control. Still, we are making the necessary preparations so that once these vaccines arrive anytime, we are ready," Sotto said. 

In a social media post, Sotto reported that 167 hospital-based healthcare professionals in the city have volunteered to get vaccinated.

"Thank you to the national government for the initial 600 doses. Sec. Vince Dizon represented the national government in this morning's Ceremonial Vaccination. Dr. Neri, head of our Covid Referral Center, is the FIRST PASIGUEÑO to be vaccinated," he said.

While stressing that "best vaccine is the vaccine that is available", Sotto said he understands those who are hesitant to get inoculated.

"Vaccination is on a purely voluntary basis and healthcare staff who decline one brand will still be the first priority for the next brand that arrives," he added.

The Pasig City government has earlier ordered 400,000 doses of Covid-19 jabs from AstraZeneca worth PHP100 million through a tripartite deal with the pharmaceutical firm and the national government. 

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