Major Gen. Pio Diñoso III, the commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division, lead in the vaccination among sol- diers and medical staff of the division on Thursday (March 11). The division received the Sinovac vaccine from their national headquarters. (VICENTE LUKBAN)

TACLOBAN CITY – The 8th Infantry Division has also started its vaccination program against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Thursday (March 11) with a ceremonial vaccination held at their headquarters located in Camp Lukban, Catbalogan City.
The 8th ID received a total of 1,200 vials of Sinovac vaccine from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Headquarters for its first batch of the rollout enough for two doses for each soldiers and health workers of the division.
At least 600 soldiers and health workers of 8ID are expected to get vaccinated from March 11-16 and will get the second dose after 28 days.
Major General Pio Diñoso III, the commanding officer of the division, received the first dose of Sinovac’s vaccine to inspire the soldiers and health workers to also receive the vaccine.
“Many lives have been lost here in 8th Infantry Division. One of our Stormtroopers had perished from COVID-19. With the vaccine around, it gives us a glimmer of hope that we can return to our normal day-to-day lives,” he said after receiving the first dose of the vaccine.
As of March 2021, the 8th Infantry Division has already recorded 92 confirmed COVID-19 cases, one of whom has died due to complications.
“Soldiers vaccination is not an option. It is our duty to receive the vaccine. So, this is not just a privilege. Our leaders are giving us a weapon in this vaccine so that we can more efficiently, more effectively perform our jobs and serve the people,” Major Gen. Diñoso added.
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Dayag, head of the Camp Lukban Station Hospital which is located inside the headquarters, said that 100 health workers and soldiers will receive the first dose of vaccines until March 16.
But before the inoculation, the vaccine recipients have to undergo screening to make sure that they are healthy and do not show symptoms of COVID-19.
Dayag stressed that the vaccination is not an assurance that they will no longer be infected with COVID-19 but is only a protection that they will no longer experience severe effect or symptoms.
Camp Lukban Station Hospital health worker, Marites Reyes, one of the first to receive the vaccine said that she is grateful to be given the anti-COVID vaccine.
“I did not felt any pain or side effect,” she said, adding that she was confident on the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine.