The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday echoed the call of President Rodrigo Duterte for local government units (LGUs) to ensure that people are not exposed to health risks and other hazards detrimental to their safety on the day of their vaccination amid torrential monsoon rains and flooding in several areas of the country in the past few days.
In a directive to governors, mayors, and village chiefs, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said LGUs must see to it that vaccination sites, including their outside premises and queueing areas, are safe and convenient with little to no exposure to rain, flood, and other natural or man-made hazards.
“While we are ramping up efforts to vaccinate the majority of our populace, LGUs should take into consideration the safety and convenience of both the vaccination workforce and the vaccine recipients. Kailangang siguruhin ng ating mga LGUs na maayos at hindi baha sa vaccination sites upang hindi ma-expose sa ibang sakit ang ating mga kababayan (Our LGUs must ensure that our vaccination sites are orderly and not flood-prone so that our fellowmen will not be exposed to other diseases),” he said.
He also said LGUs should also ensure that facilities in vaccination sites are designed to give special accommodation to senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
“Huwag natin hayaang mahirapan ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na ang mga senior citizens, ang mga may karamdaman at PWDs, na magpapabakuna (Let’s not make the situation hard for our fellowmen, especially senior citizens, persons with comorbidities and PWDs, who will get vaccinated). Let us make their vaccination as smooth and hassle-free as possible,” he said.
In the same directive, the DILG chief tasked LGUs to make their scheduling and appointment system more efficient with definite time slots in order to prevent long lines and unreasonable queueing, especially in the morning.
“Gawan po natin ng maayos na sistema ang bakunahan para hindi sabay-sabay ang pagpunta ng mga tao sa vaccination site at masunod pa rin ang physical distancing (Let us come up with an organized system for vaccination so that people will not go vaccination sites at the same time, thus ensuring observance of physical distancing). The safety of everyone should be top of mind as we carry out our vaccination efforts and especially during this rainy season. Ihanda natin ang ating mga mamamayan at siguruhin nating alam nila ang kanilang gagawin kung sakaling magkaroon ng mga biglaang aberya sa araw ng pagbabakuna (Let us prepare our constituents and make sure that know what to do in case sudden problems occur during vaccination activities),” he said.
President Duterte earlier expressed concern over long lines in vaccination centers and the risk of leptospirosis amid the rains and floods. He then tasked the DILG to issue a directive for LGUs to ensure smoother vaccination drives, especially during floods.
Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, also the spokesperson, said that alternative coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination sites are now being identified in coordination with Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
He said that 28 out of the 407 operational vaccination sites in NCR are affected by flooding.
“While we understand that we would like to vaccinate as many eligible individuals as possible, there is also the issue of overcrowding in vaccination centers so we already asked the LGUs to identify alternative vaccination sites,” he said.
Malaya said that the affected LGUs have already identified alternative vaccination sites where they will transfer their operations.
He also urged LGUs to ensure the integrity and security of Covid-19 vaccines at all times based on the recommended cold chain temperature requirements.
“Siguruhin po nating hindi masasayang ang mga vaccines na dine-deliver sa inyo dahil tandaan natin na bawat dose ng bakuna ay mahalaga para makarating na tayo sa tinatawag na population protection (Let us ensure that no vaccine will be wasted because every vaccine dose delivered is important in attaining population protection),” he said.
According to an advisory issued by the National Vaccination Operations Center headed by the Department of Health, LGUs should look for an alternative vaccination site and immediately transfer the vaccination operations to the said site as far as practicable if the vaccination sites and their immediate perimeter are flooded.
The advisory also said that if a transfer is not feasible, vaccination activities may be suspended and resumed once the weather situation permits and the flood has subsided.
It added that those who will be affected by the change in the schedule of vaccination or transfer of vaccination site should also be duly informed. (PNA)