Duterte thanks St. Luke’s Medical Center for help in vaccination drive

Published March 1, 2021, 10:33 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has thanked St. Luke’s Medical Center for joining the government’s vaccination program after it requested for 5,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines for its personnel.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

According to the President, the hospital’s participation would help promote the immunization program that seeks to boost protection against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier informed the President that St. Luke’s hospital management has requested for the Chinese-developed vaccines from the government for its employees. A “mini” vaccine rollout of the vaccination will be held at St. Luke’s hospitals located in Quezon City and Taguig City, Galvez added.

“We appreciate every — any and every cooperation offered to us at this time. Kung sasali iyong St. Luke’s then nagpapasalamat tayo (If St. Luke’s will join, then we thank them),” he said in a televised address Monday, March. 1

“So they can also help spread really the vaccine as soon as — as fast as it can be accommodated by the time and motion of a human being,” he added.

The government has started its vaccination program Monday, a day after the first shipment of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines arrived in Manila Sunday. The vaccines are donated by the government of China to the Philippines as a testament to the friendship and partnership in battling the pandemic.

Several health professionals and government officials were among the first recipients of the Chinese-made vaccines. The President, however, did not take the Sinovac vaccine after being advised by the doctor to wait for another brand due to his old age. Duterte prefers to take the other vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm.

In his remarks aired on state television, Galvez admitted they were surprised that St. Luke’s medical center asked for Sinovac vaccines for the hospital personnel. He claimed that the hospital personnel supposedly wanted Pfizer vaccines but apparently changed their mind.

“Nag-text po sa akin si Dr. (Arturo De la) Peña at magkakaroon kami ng mini-rollout sa dalawang St. Luke’s Medical Center, sa (Bonifacio) Global  (City) at sa Quezon City, para magkaroon po ng mataas na uptake,” Galvez said.

He added that the vaccination program will continue in other government hospitals, including military health facilities, this week. Health workers ranked first in the list of priorities beneficiaries of the free inoculations offered by the government.