Vaccines to be poured into 1,500 barangays
A health worker inoculates a resident with a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine inside a Catholic church turned into a vaccination centre in Manila on May 21, 2021.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

Vaccines to be poured into 1,500 barangays

Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least 1,500 barangays have been identified in the government’s “focus and expand” strategy that prioritizes vaccination in economic centers and high-risk areas, the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) said.

“In response to President Duterte’s directive to prioritize areas with a spike in COVID-19 cases, we’re increasing the vaccine administration capacity of these areas,” NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said late Wednesday.

More than 100,000 doses of Pfizer and a million doses of Sinovac arrived in succession this week, while 100,000 Sputnik V doses are scheduled today. Eleven million will arrive this month, with the bulk allocated to provinces outside Metro Manila, Galvez said, noting that 12 million doses are expected in July and about 17 million more by August.

So far, the Philippines has received 7.5 million Sinovac doses since February, more than 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca since March; 193,050 doses of Pfizer, and 80,000 doses of Sputnik V last month.

Vaccinate seniors

As more vaccines arrive, local government units (LGUs) could look into vaccinating priority groups, particularly 18 million senior citizens, through house-to-house inoculation, Sen. Bong Go said.

“Can you go from house to house, let the LGUs go to the homes of senior citizens who want to be vaccinated? Because our senior citizens can’t go out, they are afraid to go out, they are afraid to travel to the vaccination center,” Go said during the launch of the 118th Malasakit Center at the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital-Maramag in Maramag, Bukidnon.

For Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the best formula for the Philippines to get out of the COVID-19 pandemic is for Filipinos to ‘get the jab done’ and the government to ‘get the job done.’

He also reiterated his support for using all legal and creative means to encourage more Filipinos to get vaccinated and attain herd immunity at the soonest.

Sen. Nancy Binay called on the Department of Health (DOH) to fast-track the release of all COVID-19 vaccines in stock to meet the increasing demand for jabs of the A4 priority group.

“Let’s launch and release all the vaccines in government storage facilities. It’s a waste of time if we have to wait for the people until next week. By then, the vaccine may have sprouted before it reaches the centers. Clearly, there should be no excuses,” Binay said.

Binay said she considers the closure of some inoculation centers in Metro Manila “unacceptable” because of the DOH’s failure to deliver vaccines on time. She added that many more vaccines are stored in DOH storage facilities and keeping the jabs in warehouses “do not serve (their) intended purpose.”

Free swab test

Sen. Sonny Angara is pushing for free COVID-19 tests for jobseekers as a form of employment stimulus, noting that each RT-PCR swab test costs around P3,500 to P5,000. He said there is a “COVID test wall” that discourages the unemployed from looking for jobs, as some employers have made it a requirement for pre-employment.

“For jobless breadwinners, it is choosing between two sacks of rice or a RT-PCR swab. It is a big startup cost for people who are at the end of their rope,” Angara said. — Cecille Suerte Felipe

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