MANILA — Metro Manila cities San Juan and Mandaluyong on Tuesday started inoculating indigent residents or those in the A5 priority group for vaccinations against COVID-19.
The government started its phased rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for workers and those from poor communities last week in a bid to expand the coverage of the country's immunization program.
In San Juan, those who are part of the fifth priority sector received their Pfizer COVID-19 jabs at the Filoil Flying V Center, simultaneous with A1, A2, A3 and A4 priority groups (health workers, the elderly, those with comorbidities, and economic frontliners).
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said members of the indigent population should bring their valid IDs and certificate of indigency from the barangay and present them at the vaccination site.
Zamora added that the city has enough vaccine supply, with 5,850 Pfizer vaccine doses and more than 3,000 doses of Sinovac allocated for the first dose and more than 14,000 doses for the second dose.
"Ang advise sa amin ng [Department of Health], just vaccinate and once maubos, they will replenish. So technically, ganun na rin iyon. Sabihin mong first dose, second dose kasi papalitan din naman nila," he explained.
(The DOH advised us to continue the vaccination rollout until we run out of vaccine doses. They promised to replenish it so it is just the same. You can say it is for the set of first dose or second dose, they will still replenish.)
"Honestly, it doesn't really matter anymore at this point kung first or second dose because abundant naman iyong supply natin ng bakuna sa ngayon (our vaccine supplies are abundant for now)."
Daisy Baldoza said she was grateful for the chance to be vaccinated as part of the A5 priority group.
She said she was initially hesitant to get the vaccine, but after her husband tested positive for COVID-19 twice, she agreed to be vaccinated, along with her family.
"Para siguro sa proteksyon na rin namin, para... magkaroon ng malakas na resistensya," said Baldoza.
(This is to protect us and to boost our resistance.)
Meanwhile, Evelyn Villocino admitted she purposely missed her first scheduled vaccination due to fear of side effects but was eventually motivated by her neighbors.
"Halos lahat na nagpapabakuna na. Parang sa aming barangay, ilan na lang kaming hindi nabakunahan," she said.
(Almost everyone in our village already got vaccinated from COVID-19, we are the only few left who have yet to be vaccinated.)
The local chief executive said over 40,000 people have been vaccinated in San Juan City.
He said herd immunity can be achieved in about 2 months, when the city is expected to reach more than 85,000 residents vaccinated against COVID-19.
Mandaluyong City has also started inoculating those under the A5 priority group.
Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos said residents in Brgy. Addition Hills were among those who got their first dose.
At the vaccination site in Andres Bonifacio Integrated School, Jelynia San Gabriel was among those who lined up.
She said she had doubts before, but later on agreed when she saw the vaccination of those in the A1 to A4 priority group.
"Sa karamihan ng mga nagpapabakuna, maaano mo na rin na magpabakuna na rin," said San Gabriel.
(Many were already vaccinated, which led me to get mine)
Charito Bumatay said she is taking this chance to be vaccinated in the hopes that she'll be able to return to her job, which was halted due to the pandemic.
"Para naman sa kabutihan natin ito. At least sa gobyerno na, bakit hindi mo pa i-grab? Malay mo magkabayad na iyong pagva-vaccine," she said.
(This is for our good. The government provided this so why should not we grab it? One day this vaccine will have to be paid for.)
Official figures show the country has so far administered over 6.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, of which more than 1.8 million have been fully vaccinated.
The Philippines has so far tallied a total of 1,327,431 confirmed coronavirus infections, with active cases reaching 58,063 or 4.4 percent of the total, according to the latest bulletin.