As part of an offer of confidence, the army chief is the first to receive the injection of CoronaVac
MANILA, Philippines â Army chief Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. received the first dose of CoronaVac, the vaccine made by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, on Tuesday, March 2, in what was seen as a move of confidence during the deployment of the army’s vaccination campaign.
Faustino may be the most senior Filipino military officer to legally receive the vaccine to date.
“Remember that being vaccinated is our duty to the country and the Filipino people we have sworn to serve and protect,” said the army chief.
Other officials, who received the vaccine at the army headquarters at Fort Bonifacio in the town of Taguig, were the vice-commander of the army, Major General Robert Dauz, the chief of staff General Rowen Tolentino and the director general of the army general hospital, Lt. Col. Teresita Merioles, the army said in a statement.
The vaccine will be distributed to 5,000 men and officers over the next 15 days and planning to roll out the vaccination nationwide for the country’s 18 army hospitals is underway, the military said.
Philippine Armed Forces Headquarters in Quezon City; the Philippine Navy in Taguig City; the Philippine Air Force in Pasay City also launched separate ceremonial injections.
“The goal today is to vaccinate at least 30 health workers in each of the hospitals in the four camps named,” AFP spokesman Major General Edgard Arevalo said.
The Philippine government received 600,000 doses of CoronaVac on Sunday February 28, 100,000 of which were allocated to the Ministry of National Defense and AFP.
Within the military, some members of the Presidential Security Group had received injections of Sinopharm, the vaccine manufactured by a Chinese state-owned company, last year, long before the government’s vaccination program began.
AFP chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said earlier that vaccination against SARS Cov2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was mandatory for all AFP staff, including employees civilians. Those who do not want to be injected with CoronaVac could choose another vaccine but at their own expense.
Sobejana said earlier that he is not getting the vaccine in the meantime because frontline medical workers are expected to receive it first.
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