The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) began vaccinating ts personnel outside Metro Manila Friday, March 5, with the delivery of the first batch of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) jabs to soldiers based in Cagayan de Oro City.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, AFP Chief of Staff, presided over the ceremonial vaccination of military health workers assigned at the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) using the CoronaVac vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech.
A Philippine Air Force C295 aircraft transported 600 vials of Sinovac vaccines from the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City to Lumbia Airfield in Cagayan de Oro.
The shipment was then escorted by military and medical personnel to its destination at the 4ID headquarters in Camp Evangelista.
“We, in the armed forces, especially recognize how significant a progress the vaccination program is in the fight against COVID-19 not only for our troops, who have been serving as frontliners alongside our medical health workers, but most importantly for the needed protection of our fellow Filipinos in highly-vulnerable conditions,” Sobejana said.
The vaccines were the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines that were delivered by the military outside Metro Manila.
Sobejana said around 100 out of the total 300 frontliners assigned in 4ID were targeted to be inoculated during the ceremonial vaccination.
The ceremonial vaccination of military health workers was headed by Colonel Jonna Dalaguit, commanding officer of Camp Evangelista Station Hospital.
Aside from Sobejana, the event was also witnessed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Sobejana said that the AFP is already planning the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to other areas outside Metro Manila through its land, air, and naval assets. He said the military has been coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) to discuss the protocol on the handling and storage of vaccines prior to their delivery in other regions using military assets.
“We are one with the government and the Health department in the full force implementation of the National Vaccine Deployment Program,” Sobejana said.
“I am urging all members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to join this effort so that we will be able to convey to our people the need for their cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he concluded.