First in PH: Bocaue inmates, jail personnel fully vaccinated
MANILA, Philippines — The municipal jail of Bocaue, Bulacan, became the country’s first jail facility with both inmates and personnel fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) said on Monday.
According to a statement shared by BJMP spokesperson J/CInsp. Xavier Solda to reporters, all 148 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) detained at the said facility, along with the 19 BJMP personnel, are now fully immunized against the pandemic.
“We would like to reiterate our call to our Local Chief Executives to also consider their constituencies behind bars in their vaccination efforts like what Bocaue Mayor Jose Santiago did,” said BJMP Chief Jail Director Allan Iral in the statement.
“Our target is to ensure that those who will be released from our jails are also protected,” he added.
This initiative, Iral said, is in line with the government’s efforts to achieve herd immunity within the country by vaccinating most of the population. Of the 148 vaccinated PDLs, two were senior citizens, while ten others have comorbidities.
All in all, 10,459 BJMP personnel and 1,766 PDLs — most of which are senior citizens or those with comorbidities — have been vaccinated. Still, BJMP seeks to vaccinate more of its staffers and the PDLs under its care to ensure that they would be protected against the coronavirus.
“Through its campaign, dubbed ‘Magkaisa Para sa Bakuna Laban sa Pandemya,’ the Jail Bureau aims to vaccinate all personnel and PDL nationwide. Last June 15, the BJMP National Headquarters led the mass vaccination of personnel from Regions 3, Calabarzon, and Mimaropa,” BJMP noted.
The national government is banking on COVID-19 vaccines to usher in herd immunity and restore normalcy — and the economy as well — before the year ends. As of now, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) said that over seven million doses had been administered already.
Of this number, 1.9 million have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Before the arrival of the vaccines, jail facilities were faced with problems about possible COVID-19 outbreaks owing to poor sanitation status and congestion in some areas.
As a result, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) allowed the release of 15,000 PDLs to decongest BJMP facilities nationwide — thus maintaining physical distancing among people left inside jails.
Several outbreaks have also hit BJMP facilities since the pandemic arrived in the country, forcing BJMP to take measures like the suspension of physical visitations and hand-over systems to curb rising infections.
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