Open areas can be vaccination sites: Galvez

MANILA – Open areas such as gymnasiums, auditoriums, arenas, and other similar venues can be converted into vaccination centers, National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Friday.

Citing the importance of maintaining physical distancing during vaccination activities, Galvez lauded Taguig City for its efforts to respond to the pandemic and establishing an orderly vaccination program.

Maganda nga itong ginawa nila Sir Lino atsaka ‘yung SM groups na talagang binigyan nila ng space ang ating mga mamamayan, especially ‘yung seniors atsaka ‘yung merong comorbidities (Sir Lino and the SM group are doing a good job of allotting space for the people, especially for the elderly and those with comorbidities,” Galvez said, referring to Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano, who invited him to visit the mega-vaccination hub at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura in Bonifacio Global City.

Galvez praised the local government and its private partners for setting up vaccination hubs that are “very convenient, accessible” to the people.

“We can see that we have minimized the crowding of people here,” he said.

Taguig City has three types of vaccination centers: mega-vaccination hub, community vaccine centers, and a mobile vaccination bus, also launched on Friday.

‘Pag bumibisita kami dito, meron ibang out-of-the-box kaming natutunan (Every time we visit here, we learn out-of-the-box strategies),” Galvez said.

NTF Deputy Chief Implementer and testing czar Vince Dizon also said the government-private sector partnership continues to construct more isolation facilities.

About 10,000 Covid-beds have been set up in Metro Manila alone, he said.

“We did it before and now we see that we need more and we need to hasten the construction,” he said.

Dizon also said President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to provide substantial payments to healthcare institutions, including Levels 1, 2, and 3 hospitals.

Apart from improving isolation capacity, Dizon said treatment capacity for critical and moderate cases should also be given priority.

Correlation of vaccination, hospital capacity

Meanwhile, Cayetano said the vaccination of the priority groups under the A1, A2, and A3 categories is directly related to hospital capacity.

Protecting healthcare workers will prevent the closure of the hospitals, he said.

Senior citizens and persons with comorbidities account for the majority of those hospitalized, he added.

“While inoculating A1, A2, and A3 priority groups, we are capacitating our hospitals. It will work hand-in-hand,” Cayetano said. “Even before herd immunity, the vaccination of these groups could greatly affect the hospitalization.” Lade Jean Kabagani / PNA –