BARMM to start Covid-19 vaccine jab on March 5

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COTABATO CITY – Some 4,200 vials of Sinovac vaccine intended for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) arrived here at noontime on Thursday, March 4 and the vaccine jab start on Friday, March 5.

BARMM health minister Dr. Amirel Usman, said the health care workers who are catering to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will receive the vaccine jab first.

Usman affirmed that 2, 100 health personnel in the region are the first to receive of Sinovac vaccine, following its arrival on Thursday, March 4, in Cotabato City.

With 4, 200 vials of Sinovac vaccine, each of the health workers shall receive 2 shots, with 4 (four) weeks interval from the first vaccination. This is for phase 1 of the anti-Covid-19 vaccination program of the Bangsamoro Government’s Ministry of Health (MOH).

“From these initial 2,100 shots, 1,400 will be from Maguindanao, 972 in Lanao del Sur, 278 in Basilan, 1,032 in Sulu, and 518 for Tawi-Tawi […] while Cotabato City was already given by Region 12,” Usman said.

Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas, BARMM deputy health minister, said their plan involves three priority eligible groups for the vaccine’s distribution and deployment.

Abas said Group A includes all frontline health workers from public and private health facilities like hospitals or temporary treatment and monitoring facilities; health workers from rural health units, city and municipal health offices, barangay health emergency response teams; and frontline workers from the Ministries of Basic, Higher and Technical Education; Interior and Local Government, and Social Services.

“The first group also includes the frontline workers from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Bureau of Corrections, as well as indigent senior citizens, remaining senior citizens, remaining indigent population, and uniformed personnel from the police, army, coast guard, and fire service,” said Abas.

Abas said Group B includes teachers, other BARMM government workers, other essential workers from the fields of agriculture, food, industry, transportation, tourism, manufacturing, construction, socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk (PWDs, Bangsamoro living in high-density areas), and overseas Filipino workers.

“All remaining Bangsamoro population not included in Groups A and B all belong to Group C,” Abas said.

Usman said out of the 4,200 vaccines that initially arrived, 1,400 will be for the province of Maguindanao; 1,032 for Sulu; 972 for Lanao del Sur; 518 for Tawi-Tawi, and 278 for Basilan.

He assured the BARMM constituents that the coronavirus vaccines were certified halal in Indonesia.  It means that the vaccines are free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming in accordance with Islamic law.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dimapuno Alonto Datu-Ramos Jr., Bureau Director for External Relations and Spokesperson of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) said “the vaccination program is not mandatory, and it will still be your decision if you want what is available or not. Just avoid spreading hate news because you might be putting more people at risk because of your personal preferences.”

“If already available in your institution, I strongly advise you to get the shots,” Datu-Ramos said.  – Taher G. Solaiman/Newsline.ph

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