DOH, MMDA assure efficient vaccination systems in NCR


AS the National Capital Region (NCR) was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire gave assurances that they will “endeavor” to bring the vaccines to recipients in the fastest means possible through zoning, mobile vaccination drives, and temporary vaccination sites in high-density areas.

Vergeire said that transportation shall also be provided and facilitated for both vaccine recipients and the vaccine workforce to ensure that the population is protected from severe, critical, and fatal forms of Covid-19.

“Today (August 6) is the first day of our Enhanced Community Quarantine, a means to delay the spread of the virus and variants of concern and allow our hospitals to prepare and increase capacity of our local health systems. Aside from our community quarantine and continued minimum public health safety measures, vaccination is an important part of the response to Covid-19,” Vergeire said in an online media forum.

MMDA inspects vaccine hubs

On Friday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. inspected the vaccination rollout in several Covid-19 vaccination hubs in the cities of Las Piñas, Muntinlupa and Parañaque.

Abalos conducted the inspection after videos and photos circulated on social media on Thursday showing thousands of people lined up in various vaccination sites in the metropolis despite curfew hours, violating pandemic protocols. This veritable stampede was triggered, it turned out, by several pieces of “fake news”, and authorities are now investigating the sources of such disinformation. Many people panicked after receiving information that those who have not been vaccinated shall not be entitled to “ayuda” and/or benefits.

Abalos, however, said the queues of people at SM Southmall Las Piñas, Ayala Malls Southmall in Muntinlupa and SM City BF Parañaque were systematic.

“Our overall assessment on the vaccination process on the said areas is very orderly and very efficient. We have our target to protect Filipinos from the deadly coronavirus disease thru inoculation. In fact, the 17 local government units in Metro Manila are expected to administer 250,000 jabs daily during the two-week enhanced community quarantine period,” Abalos said.

He also appealed to the public to stop believing in fake news and misinformation.

“This is a critical phase right now. I’m appealing to everyone. Kaya natin ito basta walang fake news at walang maniniwala sa fake news [We can deal with this for as along as no one believes in fake news],” Abalos emphasized.

Meanwhile, Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi said there is a sufficient supply of Covid-19 vaccines to immunize their residents.

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, for his part, reiterated that Covid-19 vaccinations would continue in the city.

“We have five mega vaccination areas in the city. Also, we conduct home service vaccination for bedridden every weekend,” Olivarez said.

Las Piñas City Administrator Reynaldo Balagulan assured the public that City Hall has a proper system in place to ramp up their inoculation program, even during ECQ.

Vaccine milestone

Vergeire reported that as of August 4, “we reached a vaccine milestone after breaching the 10-million fully vaccinated mark.”

“We also tallied the highest daily jab rate of 710,482 yesterday, August 5,” she said, emphasizing a few reminders on the vaccination — vaccine mixing and booster dosing.

“The DOH and Department of Science and Technology are still conducting studies and monitoring global evidence to support the safety and effectiveness of mixing vaccine brands and using booster doses. This is also an equity issue. It is not equitable to give third or fourth doses to people when we have yet to give one or two doses for more than half of our population. Pediatric vaccination is also still not yet recommended as of now. Guided by our current prioritization framework, we vaccinate the most vulnerable groups first,” she explained.

She noted that in other countries overwhelmed by the new variants of concern, the unvaccinated population drives the hospitalization utilization burden.

“We are encouraging every eligible [persons] to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccines work to prevent severe diseases and deaths. Help us beat Covid by having yourself vaccinated,” she said, stressing that “strict” scheduling will be implemented to prevent large numbers of people from going out and congregating.

“Priority Groups A2 and A3 shall continue to be given fast lanes,” she concluded.

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