Marikina hopes for more Pfizer vaccines as DOH says city is ‘ideal’ inoculation site
MANILA, Philippines — The local government of Marikina City is hoping to get more Pfizer-made COVID-19 vaccines, as the national government cited the city as an ideal vaccination site due to the orderly process of storing and administering the vials.
According to Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, they are wishing to receive more of the Pfizer vaccines now that the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Vaccination Operation Center have touted the city’s system as a model for vaccinations.
“Inaasahan natin na bago maubos yung unang batch na in-allocate ay makakapagdagdag na ng panibagong batch ng Pfizer para sa Marikina lalo na ngayon na sinabi na rin ng DOH at ng National Vaccination Operation Center na hindi lang qualified ang Marikina kundi very ideal ang setup ng Marikina para sa pagamit ng Pfizer,” Teodoro said in a statement on Thursday.
Pfizer — arguably a preferred COVID-19 vaccine choice among Filipinos — has recently been distributed to local governments. In a survey by Pulse Asia released last March, it was revealed that even if a lot of Filipinos are skeptical about vaccines, those who want to get vaccinated picked Pfizer’s jabs as a top choice.
At least 52 percent of the respondents picked the Pfizer vaccine, followed by a far 22 percent for the vials from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, and six percent for British-Swedish AstraZeneca.
However, this also meant that a lot of people, whether they have registered or not, scrambled to get a chance at being inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine. This has left city authorities struggling to maintain order and minimum health protocols as people flocked to vaccination sites while disregarding restrictions against crowding.
Health experts warned that crowded vaccination sites can become a superspreader event should one of the people getting vaccines be already infected with COVID-19.
Teodoro reminded his constituents that while they appreciate the growing confidence on the vaccines, residents must still pre-register with Marikina’s City Health Office so that they would be listed among vaccine recipients. He sternly warned that walk-in applications are still not allowed.
“Pre-registration ang gagawin natin, walang walk-in para sa Pfizer dahil nakita naman natin, ang pag administer nito ay per batch at may Tamang temperatura dapat,” Teodoro explained.
“Kaya ang mangyayari hindi tayo mag-eentertain ng walk-in kundi lahat ng gustong makatanggap ng bakunang Pfizer ay kailangan mag pre-register at kung talagang preference niya ito Merong maayos na queuing at may maayos na registration na dapat masunod,” he added.
As of now, Marikina is capable of vaccinating around 3,000 individuals per day, using two vaccination sites: the Marikina Mega Vaccination Facility at the Marikina Sports Complex and another at the Marikina Elementary School
Another vaccination center capable of doing 1,500 to 2,000 injections per day is being eyed by the local government.
“Magbubukas tayo ng isa pang vaccination center na kayang magbakuna ng mga 1,500 hanggang 2,000 indibidwal dito sa Sto. Nino Elementary School. Ito ay magbubukas marahil sa susunod na linggo,” Teodoro claimed.
Earlier, DOH’s National Capital Region officer Dr. Amelia Medina heaped praises on Marikina’s fully-air-conditioned vaccination facility which is important for Pfizer, as it would be ideal for such vaccines that need extremely low temperatures to be effective.
Medina said that if other cities can ensure that Pfizer vaccines would be handled properly, then they can distribute it to them as well.
“Ang gusto na lang po natin iparating sa iba ay sana po lahat ay ganoon sa Marikina. Bago po sila nagbakuna ng Pfizer vaccines ay pinakita muna nila sa amin,” she explained.
With the recent wave of vaccinations, Marikina is looking to attain herd immunity against COVID-19, through vaccinating 70 percent of the city’s population. As of now, 16,000 individuals with comorbidities, under the A3 category, have been vaccinated.
“Gusto natin itong gawin sapagkat ang target natin sa loob ng anim na buwan pagdating ng buwan ng nobyembre ngayong taon ay makapag establish na tayo ng herd o population immunity,” he noted.
The Philippines recently dealt with a surge in COVID-19 cases which forced the national government to place Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Eventually, after the COVID-19 cases waned down early March, the national government downgraded the quarantine status to a GCQ.
On Thursday, the country’s active COVID-19 case increased to over 51,000 due to 6,100 new infections.
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