MANILA — The city government of Mandaluyong has launched an information dissemination drive in its barangays to allay fears over the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
Mayor Menchie Abalos and city health officials visited two barangays on Friday to raise vaccine confidence among residents.
Abalos explained that there is a need to educate people about the whole vaccination process. Recent surveyshave earlier revealed the public’s hesitancy to join the government's vaccination drive.
“Nakaka-anim na barangay na ako. Kailangan ko pagtiyagaan kasi mapapansin niyo, marami ang ayaw, takot sa bakuna because of Dengvaxia. Kailangan ko silang i-convince o ipamulat sa kanila how important ang bakunang ito,” Abalos told ABS-CBN News.
(I already went to 6 barangays. I need to persevere beecause many do not want to be vaccinated because of the Dengvaxia issue. I need to convince them and tell them why vaccination is important.)
The city government inked a tripartite agreement with British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca for the purchase of the vaccine, but the mayor did not disclose information on the number of doses and the amount involved in the agreement.
She earlier said that Mandaluyong set aside an initial P200 million for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the city’s residents.
“Sabi nina Sec. [Carlito] Galvez by February mayroon na. ‘Yun ang mauuna, medical frontliners. After that, para sa mga senior citizen. Magsisimula tayo [February] o March. Yung in-order naman namin siguro 3rd quarter of this year, yung AstraZeneca,” she said.
(Sec. Galvez earlier said that by February we would have the vaccine. Medical frontliners will be the first to get it then the senior citizen. We will also start vaccinating by February or March, and the vaccine we ordered, AstraZeneca, will be used around 3rd quarter this year.)
The city government has also launched a mobile application where residents can register in order to avail of the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes approved and ready to use.
As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, the majority or 73 percent of Mandaluyong residents said it is okay for them to be vaccinated. A total of 12 percent, meanwhile, said they refuse inoculation, while only some were undecided, according to Abalos.
“Sana maniwala sila at magtiwala sila sa akin at sa national government kasi hindi ibibigay ang bakunang ito kung may effect sa katawan,” she said.
(I hope they believe and trust me, as well as the national government because this vaccine will not be given to the public if it has side effects.)
Abalos said schools would be used as COVID-19 vaccination centers in the city. Aside from the main vaccination facility, a preparation center and an observation center will be set up in classrooms.
Those vaccinated, however, will be required to stay for at least an hour for any immediate adverse reaction. The city's public schools will serve as observation rooms, she said.
“Ang liliit ng aming health centers. Kahit sa lugar na ito (covered court) hindi kami pwede dito magpa-vaccine. Pinaaayos ko talaga ang aming schools. Ito lang kasi ang area na pwede ka mag-observation… hindi ka pwede mag-inject na wala kang paglalagyan ng observation room,” she explained.
(We have small health centers. Even our covered court won't be enough as a site for the vaccination drive. I already told them to prepare our schools as sites of observation rooms.)
The city government, she said, initially planned to vaccinate at least 2,000 residents per area but it would not be possible because of the required one hour observation per person.
“One hour and 15 minutes siguro kada tao (observation)... Sa Mandaluyong, siguro 20 ang area ko, lahat classroom ang gagamitin. Every classroom, maglalagay kami ng doctors and nurses para magbantay sa effects. Maglalagay din kami ng ambulance.”
(Observation can take up to 1 hour and 15 minutes per person. All classrooms will be used in the city, and each classroom will have nurses and doctors to observe the side effects. An ambulance will also be prepared.)
Abalos added that she is willing to be the first to receive inoculation in the city to encourage more residents to have themselves vaccinated.
The city government is targeting to conduct a simulation of COVID-19 vaccinations next week.