MANILA, Philippines — The health and interior departments called on local governments to ensure that people lining up for vaccination are not exposed to health risks and safety hazards especially during the rainy season.
The two agencies issued the call Tuesday following reports of people waiting under the rain and in flooded areas for hours to get inoculated.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III expressed concerns over the risk of getting water-borne diseases such as leptospirosis, typhoid fever and cholera.
“We need to remind LGUs conducting vaccination activities to select sites that are safe and that our citizens [will not be exposed to floods],” he said in Filipino during a briefing.
He added the country’s daily vaccination output over the weekend has gone down due to bad weather.
In a statement, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año issued a directive to governors, mayors and village chiefs to ensure that vaccination centers, including outside premises and queueing areas, are safe and convenient with little to no exposure to rains and floods.
Facilities in vaccination sites must be designed to provide special accommodation to senior citizens, persons with comorbidities and persons with disabilities, he added.
“The safety of everyone should be top of mind as we carry out our vaccination efforts and especially during this rainy season,” Año said.
The DILG chief also directed LGUs to make their scheduling and appointment scheduling system for vaccination more efficient to prevent long lines and unreasonable queueing.
DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Center are currently identifying alternative COVID-19 vaccination sites. He said 28 out of 407 operational inoculation hubs in the capital region were affected by flooding.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that local governments should not allow vaccine recipients to line up in flooded areas. He repeated this in his final State of the Nation Address on Monday.
Around 6.08 million out of the country’s 109 million population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 since inoculation efforts began in March. Meanwhile, 11.11 million Filipinos have received at least one dose. — Gaea Katreena Cabico
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