MANILA - Hundreds of delivery riders from different cities and municipalities lined up early Thursday morning for a drive-thru COVID-19 booster shot provided for free by the Manila city government.
Romeo Santiago, a rider for motorcycle taxi company Angkas, said he came all the way from Antipolo City, which is more than an hour motorcycle ride to the capital city. He arrived early at the site, around 6 a.m., and queued for his turn to get vaccinated.
“Sa presidente namin sa grupo namin, na may ano daw dito, vaccinated daw dito sa may Lawton. Ayun, agad-agad akong nagpunta dito," he said.
(I found out through the president of our group that there's a vaccination here in Lawton. I quickly got here.)
Most of the riders who availed of the COVID-19 booster vaccine are not residents of Manila, said Dr. Poks Pangan, head of the Manila Health Department.
The city welcomes every rider to avail of the free COVID-19 booster shots, he added.
"Siguro po sa sampung rider, mga anim, pito, dun hindi po taga-Maynila. Meron po tayong mga taga-Taguig, Marikina, dun po sa karatig na syudad dito sa Metro Manila,” he said.
(Maybe, of 10 riders, six or seven are not from Manila City. We catered to those from Taguig, Marikina, and other neighboring cities in Metro Manila.)
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso said the hand-to-mouth-existence of delivery riders prompted the city government to create a system that will minimize disruption of work yet allow two-wheel workers to avail of the vaccine at their convenience.
The drive-thru system eliminated the trouble for delivery riders to queue up the whole day at a vaccination site and miss a day’s worth of earning, he said.
“Para lang silang naghatid ng ano, ng delivery. O, paghatid nila, punta dito, bakuna. Actually, 'pag tiningnan mo yung time and motion, 2 minutes, tapos na. So makakabiyahe na sila uli, makakapag-hanapbuhay na sila ulit," he said.
(It's like they just conducted a delivery. If you look at it, after 2 minutes, the vaccination is done. They can go back to their livelihood.)
On Wednesday night, a similar effort was provided by the city government for haulers of produce in Divisoria.
The City Public Information Office reported that a total of 754 COVID-19 booster shots (Sinovac, Astra Zaneca, Pfizer, Moderna) were administered to drivers and workers of food haulers from different provinces who converge nightly at Divisoria for bulk deliveries of various produce.
Domagoso said that with the favorable turnout in Divisoria on Wednesday night, the activity will be repeated later Thursday.
Inoculation for booster shots at the Kartilya ng Katipunan for delivery riders will last until 5 p.m. Thursday.
Domagoso said they are already looking at the possibility of holding another day of drive-thru vaccination for delivery riders, so that more two-wheel workers can be provided with booster shots.