CHD studying nighttime vaccination roll-outs

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 24,2021 - 01:27 PM
CHD studying nighttime vaccination.

The Vaccination center at the SM City Cebu is one of Cebu City’s vaccination sites. CDN Digital photo | Brian J. Ochoa

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Health Department (CHD) is now studying the possibility of holding vaccination roll-outs at night.

This after the City Council has previously requested the CHD to study the possibility of opening vaccination sites at night to cater to workers who cannot afford to get off work to get vaccinated.

Since the vaccination sites are only open during business hours, the City Council said it might be difficult for workers to leave their jobs just to get to their vaccination appointments especially if they rely on a day-to-day income.

Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, CHD head, said they were looking into the possibility as they understood that one of the reasons some individuals could not get vaccinated was because they could not get off work.

The vaccination sites are only open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. as this is the agreed time with the partner establishments offering space for the sites, as well as this also allows optimized shifting for the health care workers and staff.

“Ato pa nang gistudyhan kung unsa nga sites atong pwede maabilhan hangtud gabii. Siempre mag involve pud nag manpower pero sa amo tan-aw di ra man kailangan mag-abli og bag-o kay pwede ra nato iextend ang ubang sites hangtud gabii,” said Ibones.

(We are still studying what sites that we can open until evening. Of course, it will involve manpower but the way we see it, we don’t need to open a new vaccination site for this because we can just extend the time of other vaccination sites until evening.)

Particularly, Ibones is considering malls whose closing time reaches up to 9 p.m. If the vaccination sites at the malls can be manned up until the closing time, this may give the opportunity for workers to get to the vaccination site well before the curfew at 11 p.m.

The CHD is aware that there is an apparent need to hasten the roll-out of the vaccine because from the data of the Visayas Vaccination Operation Center (VVOC), Cebu City has barely reached 30 percent of its target population.

The city needs to vaccinate over 600,000 individuals and even with the fast rollout, the city has only vaccinated near 200,000 individuals. Comparatively though, Cebu City still leads the entire region in the number of vaccinated individuals so far.

The city also lags behind senior citizen inoculation, with only 28,000 out of 80,0000 inoculated, which is why they are intensifying the roll-out to this priority group as well.

The CHD said it could manage to extend the vaccination sites at night for workers, but the roll-out would still be heavily dependent on the availability of the vaccines.

“Wala tay problema sa site kay ready pirmi. Wala tay problema sad sa mga tawo kay daghan gyod gusto magpabakuna. Atong problema kay ang vaccines kay kulang gyod ang doses,” said Ibones.

(We don’t have a problem of the sites because they are always ready. We don’t have a problem with the people because many want to be vaccinated. Our problem are the vaccines because we don’t have enough doses.)

For now, while the CHD studies the possibility of opening night vaccination sites, he urged the workers to prioritize their health and take the time off if necessary for their vaccination schedule.

He said a day off work might would be worth it for the protection the vaccine could provide amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the city.

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TAGS: CHD, City Health Department, Ibones, nighttime vaccination, vaccination roll-outs

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