Duterte to LGUs: Set ‘more sane’ vaccination drive

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte to LGUs: Set âmore saneâ vaccination drive
Residents receive a dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City on July 21, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has urged local governments to come up with “more sane” ways to administer COVID-19 vaccines to avoid exposing people lining up for jabs to health risks.

During a meeting of the government’s pandemic task force on Saturday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. showed photos of individuals lining up for vaccines, to emphasize the continuing efforts to innoculate a majority of the population.

“We can see that rain or shine and day and night, there is really no letup in the delivery and administration of our vaccines,” Galvez said.

Duterte however criticized the way some local governments administer the vaccines, noting that people are exposed to the elements while waiting in line.

“Actually, it seems that we are not lacking in vaccines. The problem is for the local governments to come up with a more sane process of vaccination than allowing people to queue as early as four o’clock in the morning and getting their shots at about nine o’clock... It seems to me this is not the way to vaccinate people,” the President said.

“People are exposed in the open, unprotected from the elements and waiting to get a chance to have the shot. They are waiting for three to four hours,” he added.

Duterte said the local government units should look for venues like auditoriums where people can be protected from rains and floods. He directed the interior and local government department to find a solution to the problem.

“Can I request the secretary of local government to just enjoin them (LGUs) – maybe a directive to enjoin them to be more circumspect, especially now that the southwest monsoon is passing (through) the country...

It’s not the way to do it,” Duterte said. “They have to be more proactive than just maybe setting a venue then without the mechanism of how to transfer it… and at the same time, informing the people of the new site.”

As the country experiences heavy rains and floods, Duterte claimed members of the media always want “to exploit news” and are “already talking about leptospirosis.”

“That’s correct, leptospirosis, then you have influenza, then you have the respiratory (illness). If they catch a simple cold, it can deteriorate into a respiratory problem. If COVID comes in, that would be a problem,” the President said.

Duterte said LGUs should be flexible enough to look for a dry place, divide people into groups, and make a head count so they can immediately inform those who won’t be vaccinated to get their shots some other time.

Efforts should be made to prevent crowding in vaccination sites.

“It’s a question of common sense,” Duterte said. “This is pitiful. “

He said he he would hold the mayor and the barangay captain responsible to make distribution of vaccines more orderly.

Duterte, nevertheless, claimed that the Philippines is still better off compared to other countries because there has been no riots yet in vaccination sites.

On the other hand, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he would meet with Metro Manila mayors to reassess vaccination sites.

Año said LGUs would have to make sure that their constituents are safe as they get vaccinated.

He said LGUs should assess the situation on a daily basis, otherwise residents may get other illnesses as they line up in flooded streets.

Mayors need to plan a better scheduling system for vaccinations to avoid long lines, he aadded.

Leni welcomes tighter restrictions

Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday welcomed the decision of the government to impose tighter restrictions in the National Capital Region and four other provinces at least until the end of the month as the health department confirmed local transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant.

“We really need to listen to the experts, our data scientists and doctors. We really need to be very careful as the Delta variant can infect four times more than the regular COVID-19 variant that we encountered in the past two and a half years,” Robredo’s spokesman lawyer Barry Gutierrez told dzXL.

“We welcome the decision of the government, IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases). It means that there is a recognition of the problem posed by (the Delta variant),” he said.

He said while tighter restrictions will be enforced over the capital and four other areas until July 31, the Vice President also continued to appeal to the government to strengthen the capacity of all hospitals in the country.

Gutierrez added that while the government has started to build modular hospitals and clinics to accommodate more patients, it also needs to increase health personnel in those facilities.

Meanwhile, Sen. Joel Villanueva is urging the government to bring the vaccination drive to displaced people in temporary shelters so these evacuation sites will not become “COVID-19 super-spreader places.”

“Let’s vaccinate the evacuees to speed up the rollout. If there are health workers monitoring their condition, let them count those who are not yet vaccinated,” Villanueva said in a statement.

He said evacuation centers are “closed, confined” places that could be a hotbed for transmission of COVID-19, especially the Delta variant.

“What we should avoid is a calamity on top of another calamity,” the chair of the Senate labor committee said, also suggesting that residents in so-called danger areas be put ahead of the vaccination line. – Romina Cabrera, Helen Flores, Paolo Romero

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