After CBCP’s offer, NITAG proposes use of churches as vaccination hubs

By: Cathrine Gonzales - Reporter / @cgonzalesINQ - | May 24,2021 - 03:32 PM

Devotees stop and pray as they pass by Quiapo Church in Manila and Baclaran church in Parañaque City on Good Friday. The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) prohibits religious gatherings from March 29 until April 4, amid the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases. 📷:Niño Jesus Orbeta/Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) has taken up the Catholic Church’s offer to use its churches as vaccination hubs amid the expected delivery of more COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the proposal was raised by NITAG during a meeting with the DOH last week, considering the good ventilation in huge church facilities.

“Ang isa pang proposal na binigay ng NITAG is to use the churches, because in churches well-ventilated usually ang lugar ng malalaking simbahan at baka maaaring makatulong din sa pagbabakuna natin,” she said in an online press briefing.

(NITAG has proposed the use of churches as vaccination sites, because churches are well-ventilated and may be of help in our vaccination drive.)

She said the recommendation will be raised before the government’s Vaccine Cluster and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases for approval.

In January this year, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines also offered the use of churches and related facilities to host mass vaccinations for COVID-19.

She noted that the private sector is “very much willing to help” for the government’s inoculation drive.

“Big hospitals and even malls will be utilized for us to have mega vaccination sites. Ang mga parking areas na malalaki, gagawin ding (Wide parking areas will also be used as) mega vaccination sites,” Vergeire added.

At present, some hospitals and even malls are already being used as vaccination centers as the vaccine supply in the country gradually increases.

Meanwhile, Vergeire said the government is still awaiting the signing of a memorandum of agreement with the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) for the construction of a mega vaccination center on the grounds of its property in Parañaque City.

The supposed signatory for the construction, NPF executive director Lucille Karen Malilong-Isberto earlier resigned due to a conflict over the project. To recall, the NPF has opposed the construction of the vaccination center in the area, saying it would require the cutting of nearly 500 trees.

The country has so far administered over four million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including the nearly 950,000 doses provided as second shots.


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TAGS: CBCP, churches, DOH, National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, NITAG, Vergeire

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