The government may use public schools as vaccination centers if there’s no available space especially in the urban areas as the government gears towards COVID-19 mass vaccination drive, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Monday.
“So we will have to take in — well, anyway, talagang kanila man ito, they are the indispensable partner of the program, ang mga local officials sila na lang ang mamili sa mga gymnasiums… Kulang talaga, then my order is to utilize the public school. Wala pa namang klase. Public school buildings, kung wala,” President Duterte said in his weekly public address.
“If there is no malaking mga coliseum o gym, then we will utilize the schools. Kung maaari lang huwag muna but I do not see any — any objectionable thing there tutal pang-injection man lang, wala naman nagkasakit,” he added.
The President has originally ordered to conduct immunizations in police stations and military installations in far-flung areas. He said that if there is no suitable venue, then the military camps would suffice.
But it would be a different scenario in urban areas, he said, noting police stations or military installations would not be enough to accommodate large crowds of people.
At the same time, the President said the police and the military should help maintain order during vaccination campaign. The military should reinforce police forces with insufficient manpower particularly in remote sitios and barrios, he stressed.
“But the police and the military should help discipline the — there should be in the rural areas na kulang ‘yung pulis, especially ‘yung mga sitio-sitio na, it would be nice to see the military also helping out,” he said.
During the meeting with the President, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said that military hospitals would definitely be used as vaccination centers.
“Magagamit din po ‘yung ano ‘yung military hospitals in terms of ‘yung inoculating the defense and military and uniformed soldiers, personnel and also their families,” Galvez told the President, noting military hospital personnel are also considered health frontliners.
“So kasama po ‘yon sa mga vaccination centers na tinitingnan po ng mga LGU po natin.”
The country’s uniformed personnel will play an important role in the vaccination campaign particularly by providing security in transporting the vaccines, according to Galvez.
The police and the military will also maintain order in vaccination centers and to ensure that government-mandated health protocols are being followed.
Galvez also reported that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has visited 14 cities to assess the preparations at the local level.
He said local government units (LGUs) are already well-prepared in carrying out different tasks and are doing early preparations such as simulations and rehearsals for a nationwide inoculation.
“And nakita po natin talaga, kami nila Secretary Duque, we are very satisfied dahil tuloy-tuloy po ‘yung simulation and rehearsal na ginagawa po ng ating mga Metro Manila mayors,” he said.
So far, the Philippines has secured millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines from separate overseas suppliers and expects to receive the initial shipment this month.
Some 117,000 doses of vaccines, arranged through the COVAX facility, will be delivered to the Philippines this month. The vaccines are manufactured by America’s Pfizer Inc. PND