PGH doctor gets vax in honor of colleagues who died of COVID-19

MANILA – While other medical health workers opted not to get inoculated with Sinovac’s vaccine, Nemencio Nicodemus Jr., an endocrinologist of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), immediately volunteered to get CoronaVac shot as his tribute to his colleagues who died of Covid-19.

“Ako (For me) personally, it is my way of honoring our colleagues who have died because of Covid-19 and dahil nga sa yung severe Covid ang nagdulot sa kanilang pagkamatay(because contracting Covid-19 with severe complication have caused their deaths),” Nicodemus said after receiving the first dose of CoronaVac vaccine during the kick-off of the government’s immunization program on Monday.

Nicodemus said getting vaccinated is one way “to prevent further spread of Covid-19 within communities.”

“Having now this vaccine will ensure that I will be protected from severe Covid and I can continue serving our countrymen as a healthcare worker,” he said. “We can continue helping our countrymen, healing our countrymen without the fear of getting infected with severe Covid.”

Call for sign-up

Nicodemus urged more healthcare workers to avail themselves of the Covid-19 vaccine and sign up for the vaccination campaign.

“Kami naman sa medical field alam naman namin that with this particular virus, ang talagang maaari lang namin maging proteksyon is vaccination (We know in the medical field that with this particular virus, we can only count on vaccination to protect ourselves),” he said.

In fact, he said they have been waiting for the vaccination for several months.

“And now that it’s available in our country I do hope that our countrymen will be very confident with this vaccine,” he said.

The CoronaVac, he said, has already been approved for public use in many countries, not only in the Philippines.

“Sana marealize nila na eto talaga yung magiging solusyon para hindi na natin poproblemahin pa itong Covid na ito na talaga naman nagpahirap sa bansa natin (I hope they would realize that this vaccine is the only solution to respond to the Covid pandemic that hit-hard our country,” he said.

Safe and effective

Nicodemus, 51, said the choice to avail of which vaccine brand is affected by many factors and a lot of biases.

“However, people must understand that each brand varies another, from how it was developed and used purposely,” he added.

Each vaccine’s brand may vary in terms of effectiveness, but the most important thing, he said, is that all vaccines, regardless of brand, are well-researched as well as proven safe and effective.

“Lahat ng vaccine na ito ay nakaka-prevent ng severe Covid, yung degree naman ng pagprevent naman ng mild Covid na maaring nagkakaiba lang ng percentage pero sa akin mas mahalaga na maprevent natin yung severe Covid kasi yun ang nakamamatay (All vaccines could prevent severe complication of Covid-19 infection, the degree of prevention mild Covid infection may vary in terms of percentage but for me, the most important things is that the vaccine could prevent severe COVID because that what makes the virus deadly),” he added.

Once inoculated, Nicodemus said all vaccines could prevent severe symptoms, even if you get infected with Covid-19.

“Yung (The) mild Covid in the case of Sinovac, batay nga sa kanilang interview ay 50 percent, yung moderate mga above 70 percent sosa akin napakalaking bagay na yun na mabawasan na yung tyansa mong magkaroon ng (its 50 percent based on its interview, while the moderate case is above 70 percent so for me, it’s a advantage to already to prevent even) mild or moderate Covid,” he said.

Protecting oneself, family

Meanwhile, PGH nurse assistant Marilyn Laputan, 47, is very happy after getting the first shot of CoronaVac as it would also protect her family from Covid-19 infection.

Laputan said being exposed to Covid-19 makes her feel nervous and anxious at all times, especially that she spends more time working at the hospital.

“Baka mamaya mahawaan ako eh naisip ko talaga kung paano ang pamilya ko, yung anak ko baka mamaya ako yung maging sanhi ng kapahamakan sa bahay (I thought of getting infected, I might also infect my family, my children. I wouldn’t want to cause harm at home),” Laputan said.

She urged fellow healthcare workers to avail themselves of the free vaccines.

“Sana huwag silang mag alinlangan o mag atubili kasi para naman din po sa kanila ‘yung ginagawa ng government, yung vaccination (I hope they would not hesitate to get vaccinated because the government is doing this for them, the vaccination),” she said.

It’s a choice

James Hendrex Samson, 42, research/office assistant, expressed his excitement about getting inoculated with CoronaVac.

Samson said he volunteered to get shots of the Sinovac vaccine because as a researcher, he understands the process of developing a certain product, thus, he understands that all vaccines have undergone regulatory procedures, making them safe for public use.

He said there’s no need to call on people to get vaccinated, they have their free will to choose whether to avail it or not.

Vaccinees should show proof and evidence to those who are not convinced in the vaccination campaign, he said.

Following the arrival of 600,000 doses of China-donated Sinovac vaccines on Sunday, the actual inoculation of Filipinos under the government’s priority list simultaneously started in various hospitals in Metro Manila including PGH.

Other venues are Lung Center of the Philippines, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Center and Sanitarium, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Philippine National Police General Hospital, and Victoriano Luna Medical Center. (PNA)