The provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the southernmost part of the country have finally received its first doses of anti-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines for its medical frontliners, the military bared Friday, March 12.
Sulu received 208 doses of the British-Swede brand AstraZeneca vaccine and 2,360 doses the Chinese-made Sinovac Biotech jab, while Tawi-Tawi accepted 101 doses of AstraZeneca and 1, 212 vials of Sinovac.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom), said that the vaccines were delivered via Fokker transport aircraft from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) last Thursday.
He said the vaccines delivered by the troops in Sulu would be given to medical frontliners at the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO)-Sulu, which personally received the shipment from the military.
Meanwhile, the vaccines sent to Tawi-Tawi were initially turned over to Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, commander of Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, and local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) officials at the Sanga-Sanga Airport in Bongao town.
"The vaccines are delicate and should be administered within five days to achieve optimum potency so we must ensure its on-time and safe transport," said Rojas, who led the turnover of the vaccines to IATF officials led by Provincial Administrator Mobin Gampal and Dr. Sangkula Laja, of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) - Tawi-Tawi.
Last week, President Duterte ordered vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to tap the military and police in ensuring the equal distribution of anti-COVID vaccines to all areas in the country.