PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday evening, July 24, 2021, directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government to prod local government units (LGUs) to expedite the vaccination process and find better venues in case of bad weather.
Duterte issued the directive after watching news reports about people waiting in line as early as 4 a.m. and wading in floodwaters to get a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Manila.
“The picture that you saw. That ought not to be repeated. I would task the Secretary of Local Government to, I don't know how he would do it but, find a solution to the problem,” he said during his meeting with some Cabinet members and medical experts Saturday evening.
Duterte said the people risked contracting not only leptospirosis, but also respiratory diseases.
“Tama ‘yan (That’s right), leptospirosis, then you have the influenza, then you have the respiratory (diseases). 'Pag tinamaan pa 'yan ng ano, o, pagka tinamaan 'yan ng a simple cold (If you catch a cold), it can deteriorate into a respiratory problem. 'Pag sinakyan ng Covid, patay na (If it’s Covid, it’s worse),” he said.
The President said LGU officials should be proactive and have the common sense to manage the crowd and look for another venue in case the existing vaccination site becomes unsafe.
He added that the barangay captain should have acted as marshal to manage the crowd.
“At the end of the line is the government there na they should be flexible enough to immediately look for a place na which is dry and which can house so many people and dividing them into groups and make a head count of how many they can - time and motion nila sa pagbakuna - how many they can inoculate tapos pabalikin na lang ninyo ang iba rather than let them wait there,” Duterte said.
The President also emphasized the need to expedite the vaccination process so that the recipients don’t have to wait in line for five hours before getting inoculated.
“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 in... It seems to be, to me, is not the way to vaccinate people. Nakita ko 'yun kanina sa umaga (I saw that this morning), I was still awake,” he said.
The government is inoculating priority groups A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), A3 (persons with comorbidities), A4 (workers who need to go out to work) and A5 (indigent).
Although the national deployment and vaccination program requires prior online registration before a vaccine recipient could go to a vaccination site, some LGUs have decided to allow walk-ins to combat vaccine hesitancy.
As of July 23, 2021, 5,560,029 individuals have been fully vaccinated in the country. First dose inoculations went up to 10,866,238, bringing the total number of doses administered in the country to 16,426,267.
The Philippines has received a total of 30,985,130 doses of vaccines against Covid-19, consisting of 17 million doses of Sinovac, 6,858,900 doses of AstraZeneca, 3,034,980 doses of Pfizer, 500,400 doses of Moderna, 350,000 doses of Sputnik V and 3,240,850 doses of the single-dose Janssen vaccine. (MVI / SunStar Philippines)