San Juan City conducts COVID-19 vaccination simulations anew, shows vaccine refrigerators

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2021 03:06 PM | Updated as of Jan 21 2021 03:39 PM

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora inspects the conventional freezers set up inside the San Juan gym during a vaccination process simulation on January 21, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — After carrying out a two-day simulation of COVID-19 vaccinations prior to the arrival of the jabs, San Juan City's local government conducted another dry run on Thursday, this time showing how it plans to store the shots.

The simulation ran the process from storage to vaccination and post-vaccination observation to familiarize health care workers who were trained by the Department of Health (DOH). 

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said it would take up to 20 minutes for an individual to get inoculated after registration. 

They should have their temperature checked first before entering the San Juan Gym, the city’s main vaccination center. They will then proceed to the registration and encoding area.

The city government also added another step for the vaccination process— counseling and final consent, where an audiovisual presentation will be shown to recipients.

After this, they will be screened by health workers to see if they are fit and well to get vaccinated.

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Those already vaccinated will then be required to stay at an observation center located at the gym’s second floor for at least an hour, to check if there will be any immediate adverse reaction from the jab.

Dr. Rosalie Sto. Domingo, San Juan City Health Officer, explained that vaccinated residents would still be monitored for a year.

“Anything na magkaroon ng allergies, dito rin sa post-vaccination ma-observe, like pantal o nahirapan huminga. We will still monitor the patient for one year. Ipa-followup pa rin 'yan ano ba ang nararamdaman at may ibang reaction pa to see the effect of the COVID vaccine,” Domingo explained.

(Allergies will be observed during the post-vaccination, such as rashes or difficulty breathing… We will follow-up with them for a year to know if there are other side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine.) 

Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT) will also respond to residents’ needs after vaccination, she said. 

“BHERT, nandyan sila para anything na ma-assist na madala sila sa ospital. Active ang barangays natin. Sila nagi-inform sa amin ng status ng ating constituents.”

(Our BHERTs are there to assist anyone who need to be brought to the hospital. Our barangays are active and they will inform us regarding the status of our constituents after vaccination.) 

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ACCINE STORAGE

Zamora also showed the city’s refrigerators for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines it had purchased. The firm’s vaccines require storage temperature of between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. 

The city prepared some 20 vaccine refrigerators, each of which can store up to 5,000 doses.

“Yung storage requirement is not complicated, 2 to 8 [degrees] Celsius. Hindi namin kailangan bumili ng mga bagong refrigerator. Sapat na gamitin ang existing naming facilities,” the mayor said.

(We do not need to buy new refrigerators because our existing facilities are enough.)

Aside from the initial order of AstraZeneca’s 100,000 vaccine doses, the city is also preparing for the arrival of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines should the national government distribute it to local governments. 

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. earlier said in a Metro Manila Council meeting that the national government would also distribute Pfizer’s vaccines to some cities. The American-based firm’s vaccines require a -70 degrees Celsius storage temperature for it to remain viable.

“Let’s assume both AstraZeneca and Pfizer arrive at the same time, we can now start the process. Kung magkasabay 'yan at pareho available na, hindi ko pipilitin ang mamamayan sa bakuna na ayaw nila. If it’s against their will, we will not do that. This is voluntary. We will never force them to get a vaccine they do not like,” Zamora said.

(If both of the vaccines arrive, I will not force my residents to be inoculated with a brand they do not prefer.)

The local chief executive reiterated that he would be the first to get the vaccine from AstraZeneca or Pfizer to increase vaccine trust and confidence among residents.

“Ako naniniwala na basta mataas ang tiwala at kumpiyansa ng mamamayan sa bakuna, sila po ay magpapalista para mabakunahan din. Basta sabihin ng aking mga doktor na ako ay fit mabakunahan ng AstraZeneca o Pfizer, ako ang unang magpapabakuna para ipakita sa lahat na ako bilang mayor nauna sa proseso ng pagpapabakuna,” he said.

“'Pag si mayor nauna, may tiwala siya sa bakuna. 'Pag umayaw siya, ibig sabihin may problema.” 

(I believe that as long as the residents have trust and confidence with the vaccine, they would enlist to be vaccinated. As soon as the doctors say I am fit to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca or Pfizer’s vaccine, I would be the first to get it. If a mayor gets the vaccine shots first, it just means that he trusts the vaccine. If he does not want to get inoculated, there is a problem.)