The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) began Wednesday its vaccination of 759 central office officials and personnel under the A4 category, which includes frontline personnel in essential sectors, including uniformed personnel.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the vaccination of DILG employees and their families is a milestone in the quest towards achieving population protection against Covid.

“Sa wakas dumating na ang pinakahihintay ng bakuna ng ating mga kasamahan sa DILG. Magkakaroon na ng peace of mind ang ating mga matitino, mahuhusay at maaasahang mga kawani para patuloy na makapagbigay sa serbisyo para sa bayan,” Año said.

He said the Department’s vaccination rollout at the Central Office is divided into three days. Of the 759 employees who signed up for COVID-19 vaccination, 284 personnel who regularly report to work are set to get their jabs on Day 1.

Among the DILG top officials who took COVID-19 jabs early on Day 1 are Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, Assistant Secretary Manuel Felix, and Assistant Secretary Florida Dijan.

The DILG Chief said that Day 2 is for the 311 employees who work from home (WFH) including personnel from the Local Government Academy, DILG Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Philippine Councilors League, Commission on Audit Field Office, and Civil Service Commission Field Office.

On Day 3, the remaining 311 employees on WFH arrangement will be accommodated including DILG MIMAROPA personnel and immediate family members of DILG Central Office personnel.

In a memorandum, Año reminded all who signed up for the COVID-19 shots to drink plenty of water; eat nutritious food rich in vitamin C; avoid alcohol intake 24 hours prior to vaccination; eat before being vaccinated; and have a good night sleep.

For personnel who have maintenance medications, Año said they should take their meds as usual and take multivitamins too but they should avoid thinner medications such as aspirin and clopidogrel three days before vaccination.

As a precautionary measure, the DILG Chief also reminded employees who are feeling sick, in quarantine prior to vaccination, and/or have been exposed to any COVID-19 positive individuals in the past 14 days to coordinate first with the Medical Clinic for evaluation and assessment.

To avoid any possible COVID-19 cases, the administering doctors and nurses wore Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), face masks, and face shields. Employees are likewise mandated to wear face masks and face shields and observe physical distancing.

Dispelling fears of COVID-19 shots

Meanwhile, Dijan, the DILG Assistant Secretary for Human Resources Development, encouraged the Central Office personnel to be vaccinated.

Dijan, who lives in Lipa, Batangas, said her husband was vaccinated there Tuesday but she opted to get vaccinated in the DILG to dispel doubts about the vaccine brand Sinovac which was administered to the DILG personnel.

“We should set a good example and be responsible for protecting ourselves, our family, and our community,” she said.

She said that 1,300 doses of Sinovac vaccines arrived Tuesday from the Department of Health and were received by DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Marlo Iringan. The vaccines were stored in temperatures ranging from +2 to +8 degrees Celsius with a freezer temperature check every four hours to ensure the quality of the vaccines.

According to Dijan, employees who are pre-registered will be first cross-checked with the master list then his or her blood pressure is checked. A three-five minute screening by the DILG Clinic personnel follows to find out if the personnel has allergies to certain medicines is taking medicine to dilute the blood, or whether he or she has high blood pressure or diabetes.

For those employees who pass the preliminary assessment, she said, they will receive the COVID-19 shots and be asked to rest for 30 minutes to one hour while their blood pressure and oxygen levels are monitored. Once cleared, they will receive food, water, take-home kit containing two paracetamol tablets and two cetirizine tablets, with instructions on how to use them.

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