QC gov't says it can 'easily' achieve city-wide herd immunity by September

QC gov't says it can 'easily' achieve city-wide herd immunity by September
Residents of Quezon City line up for Pfizer vaccine during the inoculation for A1, A2, A3 and A5 categories at New Frontier Theater in Cubao on June 23, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — Some 113,000 Quezon City residents may be inoculated with coronavirus vaccines in the coming days following the launch of the local government's registration portal for its vaccination program.

Speaking in an interview aired over CNN Philippines, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said that the new platform has been "smooth sailing" with no problems encountered so far. 

“We look forward to finishing way before the six months period that is given to us,” Belmonte said when asked about the local government's progress to herd immunity. “We can easily finish by September at the latest."

She expressed confidence that the vaccine supply was still stable with more Sinovac and Moderna jabs coming in, adding that the new platform should allow the city government to administer 35,000 vaccine shots per day.

As of June 24, 557,132 residents of the city have received their first doses, good for 32.7% of the way until its herd immunity target of 1.7 million. 

QC to eZConsult: Waive fees, issue apology

To recall, this comes after the city government formally terminated its contract with Zuellig Pharma Corporation's booking services, eZConsult, following a series of technical difficulties.

Residents looking to sign up for vaccination schedules were met with long wait times and other technical errors on the website. 

Belmonte on Thursday said that she intended to ask Zuellig to turn over all residents' booking data to the city and waive all fees pertaining to the booking system. 

"As of yesterday, they reached out to us, and there will be a meeting between our lawyers because they're trying to explore ways by which we can avoid a bloody court battle," Belmonte said.

"I really would like for them to make a public apology for all the inconvenience."

The mayor reiterated that all previously booked appointments through eZConsult will be honored by the city government despite the platform change. 

Gov't offices in QC now included

Earlier Thursday, Belmonte disclosed in a statement that some government agencies with offices located within the city have been included in the city's vaccination program, including the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture, National Housing Authority, Commission on Higher Education, National Power Corporation, among others. 

Per the city's data, more than 10,200 employees of 62 agencies who are part of the A1, A2, A3, and A4 priority groups have so far been inoculated.

“Since Quezon City is home to many national government agencies, government owned and controlled corporations, and their subsidiaries, their employees are also eligible to be part of our vaccination program,” she said.

Mona Yap, officer-in-charge for vaccination of government agencies, explained that some agencies have established their own vaccination sites within their offices, while others were booked in the city’s existing vaccination sites. 

“For agencies with a large number of employees under priority categories, they set up their own vaccination sites with their own medical teams and we provide the vaccine supply. But for those with only 10-20 listed employees, we secure a schedule for them at our vaccination sites,” Yap said. 

Belmonte reiterated that only eligible employees in priority groups were accommodated. “We still adhere to the Department of Health’s guidelines of prioritization. We ensure that they are part of the A1-A4 category groups before we accommodate them." 

To date, 1.41 million coronavirus infections have been recorded in the Philippines, 50,037 of whom are still classified as active cases. 

Per data from the QC Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit, 1,442 active cases remain out of the total 101,776 infections documented in the city. 

— Franco Luna with a report from Xave Gregorio 

Disclosure: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is a shareholder of Philstar Global Corp., which operates digital news outlet Philstar.com. This article was produced following editorial guidelines.

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