HUNDREDS of residents from neighboring areas of the Subic Bay Freeport braved long lines at the Ayala Mall Harbor Point to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Monday, November 29, the first day of the government’s three-day “Bayanihan Bakunahan” national vaccination program.

Among those who waited patiently for the vaccination to start at 8 a.m. was Jovelyn Merced, an employee of Datian Subic Shoes Inc. who said she has queued as early as 5 a.m. to be sure she would get the vaccine shot that day.

“It’s just now that I registered for the Covid-19 vaccine because I didn’t want to miss work before,” Merced said. “It’s a good thing they declared a holiday for this, and that somebody assisted us in registering while we’re already lining up.”

Also in the queue was Red Cross worker Eduardo Buena of Olongapo City, who brought along his three teenaged children for the vaccine rollout.

“We have long wanted to have the kids vaccinated, so we are here to take advantage of this government program,” Buena said.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma said a total of 784 persons were vaccinated on the first day of the rollout, which targeted Freeport residents and workers, including those who are seniors or with comorbidities, as well as children aged 12 to 17 years.

“We are ready to double our usual number of vaccine recipients in the next two days and we will accommodate anyone, including walk-ins, just as long as they’re registered at the SBMA-Department of Health (DOH) vaccination program website,” she added.

Eisma said two vaccination sites were set up in Subic Bay Freeport for the three-day “Bayanihan Bakunahan” national vaccination program: the Ayala Mall Harbor Point activity center and the Allied Care Baypointe Hospital.

The vaccines available for this rollout are Pfizer and AstraZeneca brands, as well as Sinovac for second doses of those who have earlier received Sinovac shots.

Dr. Solomon Jacalne, head of the SBMA Public Health and Safety Department (PHSD), said that government targets for the three-day program have been actually increased to double the usual goal of 700 inoculations per day.

He said some members of the Olongapo Medical Society arrived to help SBMA health workers administer the shots so that the target number of doses can be completed.

“We’ll give the shots to everyone -- seniors and children, those for their first dose or second dose, as long as they’re registered,” Jacalne added.

The SBMA will also open a drive-through vaccination site on Wednesday, December 1, at the west wing entrance of Ayala Mall Harbor Point to provide shots to Subic stakeholders who cannot walk to the indoor vaccination site, said SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Operations Ronnie Yambao.

The government’s three-day vaccine campaign, dubbed as “Bayanihan Bakunahan: Ligtas. Lakas. Buong Pinas,” was designed to increase vaccine coverage and mobilize stakeholders to support the National Government’s goal of giving Filipinos a safe and healthy Christmas, the DOH said in a statement.

Prior to the three-day national vaccination project, the SBMA has administered a total of 13,063 doses of various Covid-19 vaccines under the SBMA-DOH vaccine program. These included a total of 5,841 doses for economic frontliners in the Subic Freeport, and 3,962 doses for those with comorbidities.

The beneficiaries came from Olongapo City, which received a total of 8,138 doses; Subic Bay Freeport, with 1,937 doses; Zambales, 1,653; and communities outside Zambales, 1,335 doses.