Pasig launches nighttime COVID-19 booster vaccination via BPO firm

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2022 07:22 AM

MANILA — A hundred employees of a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm in Pasig City were the first to receive their COVID-19 booster shots at their workplace on Friday amid the country’s 4th national vaccination drive. 

The nighttime jab event at the condo-based offices of BPO company Insight was also a first for Pasig City, according to Mayor Vico Sotto, who attended the launch led by the Department of Health (DOH).

Sotto said the city did not mount “bakuna nights” in the past year of the vaccination rollout to avoid stretching out its health team.

But he added that with many target areas and sectors in Pasig already 100% vaccinated, they are moving on to boosters.

“Ngayon kasi ang pinaka-challenge namin ay kung papano pa kami maghahanap ng mga babakunahan. Napaka-importante at napakaganda ng ideya na ilapit natin ang mga vaccination site sa lugar kung saan tayo nagtatrabaho,” Sotto said.

Pia Nathalia Velasquez, an administrative specialist who has worked at the BPO for 5 years, was among the first to get boosted at the site.

She said she had tried to schedule her booster with her local government in Mandaluyong but could not attend on a weekday and on the day, when she is supposed to be sleeping.

This time, she was vaccinated on her last night shift for the week, allowing her to rest.

“Sobrang hirap, mahirap kasi in between that you have minimal rest hours, and mostly weekdays ang vaccination and our rest time is weekend, so wala talagang nagma-match na schedules for those working at night,” Velasquez said.

“Even though a lot of us [had] already been vaccinated, noong nag-spike due to omicron natakot kaming lahat. And then we were searching, we were encouraging everyone to get boosted.” 

The BPO hopes to get its nearly 1,500 employees boosted within the month as it prepares to return to a full on-site setup next month.

Insight is currently implementing a hybrid work setup with 15 to 20 percent of employees voluntarily working at the office on selected days of the week.

The vaccination drive also includes family members of employees, said human resources manager Maggie Banggiacan. 

The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has set an April 1 deadline for BPOs and information technology firms to implement 100-percent on-site work as a condition for continued tax perks and incentives.

However, many BPOs and lawmakers have asked for a hybrid setup.

The DOH has targeted a number of BPO firms for its “granular” rollout during the 4th edition of the National Vaccination Days which end on Saturday.

Of the 1.8 million jabs target for the 3-day nationwide drive, about 768,000 are for booster shots.

Dr. Gloria Balboa, the health department’s regional director for the National Capital Region (NCR), said the agency was intensifying its information drive to get more people boosted.

As of March 11, the government listed 10,867,007 people who have received their booster doses.

There are 64,212,568 fully vaccinated individuals in the Philippines.

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