Mayor Lazatin’s Dose of Hope

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AS OF April 21, 2021, the Angeles City government has recorded 108 new active COVID-19 cases bringing total number of active cases to 901, 47 new recoveries of the total 2,977,
and 3 deaths of the total 195. This is a worldwide extermination of humanity by the deadly virus. It’s not easy at all, but if we must trust in the science, and in the facts, we will have the opportunity to return to a time of normalcy very soon, akin to a country like Israel. This is the finest hour of Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin, Jr., thank you for giving the Angelenos the things they needed the most: “The Dose of Hope”. This is our best shot as the city vax campaign speeds up. Let us keep vigilant, new variants may come, hence, let’s embrace vaccination.

The city government accelerates its vaccination drive for private and public healthcare workers (HCWs) against the highly contagious virus using the World Health Organization (WHO)-donated Sinovac vaccine through the Department of Health (DOH).

Based on the latest report, Mayor Lazatin said some 3,469 private and public HCWs have received their shots while the LGU-funded vaccines are already in the pipeline for the city’s 400,000 plus population including ancillary supplies and services necessary for their storage, transport, deployment and administration under emergency cases as defined by Republic Act No. 9184. While waiting for the vaccine supplies, Mayor Lazatin is encouraging Angeleños to pre-register through the digital vaccination survey (hsfcv.angelescity.gov.ph) and participate in the ongoing barangay household survey.

Mayor Lazatin Jr., Chief Adviser and Tactician IC Calaguas, Executive Assistant IV Reina Manuel and other local officials have been in the forefront and their resolve to beat the pandemic is undiminished. They have been constantly emphasizing the need to wear masks, social distance, and the importance of proper hygiene, which are all critical in slowing and stemming the spread of the virus. More importantly, the city government has mapped out a vaccination blitz as the rollout speeds up.

VACCINATION PROCESS
The city government has already pre-positioned cold chain storages alongside with logistical requirements, deployment process and master list of names and profiles of priority eligible vaccinee population on top of medical frontliners, senior citizens, indigent persons, existing human resources and personnel needed in the vaccination program . Reorganization of existing emergency operations centers, mobilization of barangay personnel and other volunteers, health offices, public information and sanitation offices are also part of the city’s vaccination plan. Furthermore, Lazatin’s medical team has explained the science and evidence-based terms and conditions so people could understand the basics of what a vaccine is or does, to build public trust and dispel hesitancy. However, it is imperative to communicate all of the safety, regulatory and strict guidelines that were adhered to, just as any other drug would have been. Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center (RLMMC) Officer-in-Charge Dr. Froilan Canlas and City Health Officer Dr. Verona Guevarra, both local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) heads, urged all Angeleños to do their part in eradicating the unseen virus by getting vaccinated.

House-to-house survey of the 33 villages is on-going to build a database structure for the vaccine roll-out. The data gathered will be vital in the preparation of a reliable and comprehensive master list. Surveyors have also prioritized all hospitals and medical clinics in the city. Lazatin encourages a participative roll-out plan to educate and extract honest information from residents. Survey questions include the number of persons in the household; preferred vaccine; and health conditions including allergies, comorbidities, and if the person had been afflicted with COVID-19.

Lazatin has created the Angeles City Working Committee on the Adaptation and Implementation of the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines sliced into sub-committees. The Gender and Development (GAD) Office under Mina Cabiles, will be responsible for the supervision and handling of the master list.

Those 60 years old and above, as well as adult aged 18-59 with the following diseases will be prioritized while vaccines remain limited, according to the DOH guidelines: Chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, malignancy or cancer, diabetes, obesity, chronic liver disease, neurologic disease, immunodeficiency state. These listed comorbidities are among the top causes of national morbidity and mortality. The diseases had also been found to increase the risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. If you have any one of DOH-listed 11 diseases, the following documents can be used as proof of comorbidity: Medical certificate from an attending physician, prescription for medicines, hospital records such as the discharge summary and medical abstract, surgical records, pathology reports or lab results. These documents should have been issued within the last 18 months. Remember you will need to secure a physical copy or electronic medical clearance from your doctor prior to vaccination if you fall in the following six categories: Autoimmune disease, HIV, cancer or malignancy, transplant patients, undergoing steroid treatment, patients with “poor prognosis” or bed-ridden patients.

Medical clearance can be sought through teleconsultation or consultation with your specialist. If you’re part of these groups, obtaining medical clearance will allow you and your doctor to assess your personal risks and benefits when getting vaccinated, as well as address any specific questions you might have regarding your condition. The medical clearance will need the full name of the attending physician and his or her contact details. The DOH said it should be issued by a licensed doctor and may also come from “referral apex hospitals, through telemedicine, and rural health units. How to go about getting medical clearance? The DOH said LGUs are tasked to assist or transport patients to nearby hospitals and that officials in primary care facilities that are trained on clinical guidelines shall provide the clearance. This would be useful to people with comorbidities who are unable to consult at hospitals. Moreover, individuals who were vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine will get their second dose after four weeks, while those vaccinated with Astrazeneca vaccine will receive their second shot after eight weeks.

INDEMNITY FUND
The COVID-19 National Vaccine Indemnity Fund, which shall be administered by the PhilHealth, is established to compensate any person inoculated through the COVID-19 vaccination program, in case of death, permanent disability or hospitalization confinement the amount of P500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million Pesos) is authorized to augment the funds of the PhilHealth for this purpose.

TAX EXEMPTION
From January 01, 2021 to December 31, 2023, the procurement, importation, donation, storage, transport, deployment and administration of COVID-19 vaccines shall be exempt from custom duties, value-added tax, excise tax, donor’s tax, and other fees provided the vaccines shall not be intended for resale or other commercial use and shall be distributed without consideration from persons to be vaccinated.