#IloiloPaBakunaTa: vaccination experience in Iloilo City, 1st to 2nd dose (Sinovac)

Robinsons Jaro vaccination site in Iloilo City

People waiting in line for their dose of the Sinovac vaccine in the 3rd floor of the Robinsons Jaro parking lot

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding COVID-19.

  • My experience in getting the Sinovac vaccine in Iloilo City from registration to the second dose
  • Side effects I’ve experienced after the first and second doses
  • Problems I’ve noticed and recommendations for the vaccination process

I just got the second dose of the COVID-19 Sinovac vaccine in Iloilo City last July 21. It took around two months between registration and the actual vaccination. The waiting was worth it because we’ve been dealing with the pandemic for more than a year now and many are waiting for the vaccine.

I chose to get the vaccine when there was the chance since for me, this can help lessen the spread of the virus. I also chose to get whatever vaccine is available. Since there are limited supplies worldwide, we still don’t have the option to choose vaccines. While there are varying statistics regarding the effectiveness of the different vaccine brands available, all vaccines can still help prevent death and severe symptoms of the virus.

Last February, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas invited the Iloilo Bloggers Society for a consultation meeting about promoting vaccination to the Ilonggos. IBS launched the #IloiloPaBakunaTa campaign to support the Iloilo City Government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Read more: Iloilo Bloggers Society supports City Govt’s drive for COVID vaccination with #IloiloPabakunaTa campaign

About Sinovac

For more information about the vaccine, read: Sinovac vs. AstraZeneca: What You Need to Know

Sinovac is an inactivated vaccine, which means it contains killed virus material that can help the immune system recognize and fight the virus. It requires two doses, spaced by three to four weeks. It can be stored with standard refrigeration at 2-8 degrees Celsius temperature.

Last June 1, the World Health Organization has granted emergency use authorization to the Sinovac vaccine. WHO “recommends the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks. Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100% of the studied population.” (Source: WHO)

The Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) of the Philippines has granted emergency use authorization for the Sinovac vaccine since February 2021 (Source: FDA Philippines).

Iloilo City has also received other vaccine donations such as AstraZeneca, Janssen, and Pfizer. The city has purchased AstraZeneca vaccines, which are expected to arrive this July.

Registration and preparation for vaccination

For more detailed information, read FAQs: Iloilo City’s guide to vaccination for COVID-19.

My registration for vaccination was done through the barangay. Barangay personnel went door-to-door to collect our information and we were informed to wait for the vaccination tickets.

Usually, your barangay will give you vaccination tickets with your schedule and venue. You may have to take a leave or a day off from work since waiting in line can take hours. Bring a valid ID, ballpen, water, and some snacks in case you get hungry. For the first dose, they will give you a vaccination card which you need to bring for the second dose. To prepare for hours of waiting, you can bring a book or watch Netflix. It was the NBA finals during my second dose, so I was preoccupied with that.

Sinovac vaccine first dose experience

Vaccination at the CPU Gym, Iloilo City
Vaccination at the CPU Gym, Iloilo City
My first dose was last June 22, 2021. I work in Central Philippine University, Jaro, Iloilo City which is one of the COVID-19 vaccination sites in the city. The city government used the Rose Memorial Auditorium and the Gymnasium were for vaccination. Since I was one of the employees, CPU gave us some slots for vaccination. The first dose procedure consisted of four steps:
  1. Checking your Registration and signing of the consent form
The first step was submitting your ID for confirmation of your registration. You will need to sign a consent form. A COVID-19 vaccination card will be given to you.
  1. Interview about your health status
The next step is the health workers will interview you about your health condition such as allergies, comorbidities, diseases, and exposure to COVID-19. A health worker will check and record your blood pressure.
  1. Vaccination
After the short interview will be the vaccination proper. The process is quick. The health worker administering the vaccine will sign the vaccination card with their name and the batch number of the vaccine.
  1. Post-vaccination monitoring
After vaccination, you will still have to be monitored for reactions. Blood pressure is checked again. If you have a normal reaction, you can be cleared to leave the vaccination site.

For the first dose, it took me about an hour from the first to the last step. It was organized, with clear labels for the next steps and people who are assisting.

Sinovac vaccine second dose experience

People waiting in line for their dose of the Sinovac vaccine in the 3rd floor of Robinsons Jaro

The process for the second dose follows the same steps. The day before my vaccination schedule, I was contacted by phone to remind me of the appointment. I was informed that I could choose between SM City Iloilo or Robinsons Jaro for the second dose.

The vaccination card and a valid ID are required. Robinsons Jaro used the third-floor parking lot as the vaccination site. The first waiting area was inside the mall, but health monitoring, interview, and vaccination will proceed in the parking lot.

The waiting time for the second dose was longer. My schedule was 12 PM and I arrived at 11:30 AM. I was done at 3:20 PM. I waited for 4 hours to get the dose. They also gave priority to the senior citizens. But even if the waiting is long, the vaccination process itself is fast.

Sinovac vaccine side effects

According to the Department of Health (DOH), the Sinovac vaccine can have the following side effects:

  • tenderness, pain, warmth, redness, itching or swelling on the injection area
  • Generally feeling unwell
  • Feeling tired (fatigue)
  • Chills or feeling feverish
  • Headache
  • Joint pain or muscle ache

However, these are considered normal and expected side effects. They are also signs that your body is building protection against the virus.

A few hours after vaccination, I could feel side effects such as fatigue, headache, and soreness on my arm. However, they were mild and didn’t cause much discomfort. This is normal with any vaccine. The side effects subsided by the next day.

Iloilo City Vaccination: problems I’ve noticed

I also noticed some things that the city government could improve in the vaccination process. During my first dose, there was a huge display that the second dose schedule would be on July 20, 2021, which was a holiday. There were no vaccinations during that day and instead was actually on the next day, July 21. I hope they would be sure about the second dose date before putting it in an announcement. It might make people confused about when their second dose is. However, they also contacted me the day before to confirm the date, time, and place for the second dose.

During my second dose, they gave me the option of choosing SM City Iloilo or Robinsons Jaro. While having more vaccination sites is good for social distancing and prevents overcrowding, they might overlook their vaccine supply. In the middle of waiting for my second dose, there was a 30-minute delay because the vaccines ran out and they had to wait. If the vaccination team prepared beforehand, people would not have to wait longer.

During the waiting time, I noticed that one person would instruct us to do one thing, and then tell us to do another thing. I heard one of their employees complain about how the people were lining up when clear instructions were not given in the first place. I still appreciate them for their efforts, and Robinsons Jaro has only been used recently. However, I hope they improve these little things since it might cause inconvenience for those who have been waiting for hours.

Overall, I am satisfied with how Iloilo City handles the vaccination. Despite small problems, it was organized and the personnel were accommodating. I am confident that with the fast rollout of vaccination, herd immunity will be achieved.

#IloiloPaBakunaTa: Benefits of vaccination

The more people get vaccinated, the sooner we will reach herd immunity. It can’t be denied that the pandemic has had a severe impact not just on our health system but on the economy. Vaccination is one of the ways to ensure that many are protected against severe effects of the virus. While lockdowns and quarantines are needed to prevent the spread of the virus, it has also taken a toll on us. Through vaccination, there is hope that going back to a semblance of ‘normal’ is possible.

Iloilo City is encouraging Ilonggos to get vaccinated. For those who have not registered through the barangay yet, there are registration sites in malls such as Robinsons Iloilo, SM City Iloilo, and Festive Walk Mall.

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