MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health called on local government units to limit the number of walk-ins who will be accommodated in COVID-19 vaccination centers to prevent people from swarming sites.
In a briefing Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said local governments are not discouraged from putting up walk-in lanes “if these can help.”
“They can set up specific lanes for walk-ins. I think that would be recommended because that’s organized. You are separating walk-ins from those who were scheduled to get vaccinated to avoid crowding,” Vergeire said in Filipino.
“Local governments should be able to organize this properly. They should have a target number on how many walk-ins will be accommodated per day to prevent overcrowding in vaccination sites,” she added.
Huge crowds of people, most of them walk-ins, trooped to vaccination centers where the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was deployed early this week.
This prompted the government to order local officials to refrain from disclosing the brand name of jabs available in inoculation centers. The move drew criticism, but the DOH said Filipinos will still be informed of the vaccine brand they are getting once they are in vaccination sites.
The department also urged the public to pre-register for vaccination and wait for their turn to get inoculated.
Quick substitution list
Vergeire also reminded local governments to use their quick substitution list, which includes the names of people who can get COVID-19 vaccines in case individuals scheduled to receive jabs do not show up.
The health official issued the reminder as she warned that not prioritizing the top three priority groups—health workers, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities—may jeopardize the future vaccine supplies of the country from the COVAX facility.
“Please use your quick substitution list. The quick substitution list should also include the A1 to A3 individuals so that we don’t jump to other sectors… We vaccinate our vulnerable sectors first,” Vergeire said.
More than 786,000 people have been fully vaccinated in the country, still far from the government’s target of inoculating 58 million to achieve herd immunity. Meanwhile, 2.5 million have received their first dose.
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