By MARK FRANCISCO
A total of 60,014 anti-A(H1N1) vaccines have arrived in Cagayan de Oro City to be distributed all over Northern Mindanao.
In a press conference yesterday (Monday), Department of Health (DOH-10) regional epidemiologist David Mendoza said the vaccines came from the Davao City office of the World Health Organization (WHO), adding that each vaccine has a volume of 10 ml.
Mendoza said though that only persons referred as “primary responders” will be given the vaccine for free and that there is only one fixed site for vaccination here in Region-10 – the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).
Mendoza said that according to DOH policy, primary responders are those persons who are directly involved in helping out patients in the event of an A(H1N1) breakout.
For this batch of 60,000 vaccines, only the following are eligible for immunization – health workers, the military, civil defense personnel, policemen and other search and rescue and aid group workers both from the government and the private sector.
Not all health workers are eligible though as only those working in hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units (ICUs) are prioritized, Mendoza continued.
The rest will have to wait for the second batch which is expected to be commercially available by June at P300 per vaccination, according to Mendoza.
The commercial run will already be a polyvalent vaccine – meaning it is an immunization not just against A(H1N1) but for the three types of flu as well: Influenzas A, B and C.
Pregnant women are also eligible for the vaccine provided that they are already on the third trimester of their pregnancy.
People who are allergic to eggs and egg-based products must not receive the vaccine, Mendoza warned.
The vaccine is injected via the deltoid area (i.e. upper arms) in adults and thighs for children.