Stadiums, coliseums eyed as mega COVID-19 vaccination sites

VACCINATION DAY – File photo shows senior citizens, health workers and adults with comorbidities  gather at San Juan Arena to get their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in San Juan City earlier this month. (NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / INQUIRER)

MANILA, Philippines — The government is planning to convert stadiums and coliseums into mega COVID-19 vaccinations sites that could accommodate 10,000 vaccine recipients a day, according to vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr.

“Ang balak nga namin is gayahin natin yung ginawa sa U.S., yung mga stadium at coliseum ay iko-convert natin na mega vaccination site,” Galvez said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Tuesday.

(We are planning to replicate the U.S. example, which is to convert stadiums and coliseums into mega vaccination sites.)

Currently, the government is only making use of medium-sized and “third-class” vaccination sites in its inoculation drive, according to Galvez.

“Wala pa po tayo sa mega. Dun palang tayo sa mga ospital at saka yung nai-involve pa lang po natin is more or less 2,000 na tinatawag nating rural at saka third class na vaccination sites,” he said.

(We have yet to reach the capacity of a mega site. We are still at the hospital-level and we have involved more or less 2,000 rural and third class vaccination sites.)

He explained that there are three types of vaccinations sites. The first is the mega-sites, which can accommodate the inoculation of 10,000 people a day.

The medium-sized sites, meanwhile, can accomplish 5,000 to 6,000 vaccinations a day. The third type is the mobile and rural vaccination site, Galvez noted.

“Yung mga mobile, pumupunta dun sa mga far-flung areas at saka sa mga areas na nandun yung mga may comorbidities,” he added.

(The mobile sites, they go to far-flung areas and to areas where those with comorbidities live.)

So far, the government has inoculated over 1 million Filipinos against COVID-19 since vaccine rollout began on Mar. 1.

Galvez earlier said the government targets to inoculate 1 million Filipinos weekly by April or May.

Asked if he thinks this would be possible, the vaccine czar answered in the affirmative.

He said to achieve this goal, the government would need 55,000 vaccinators to man 5,000 to 6,000 vaccination sites across the country.