CHR asks gov’t to revisit rules on COVID-19 vaccination amid panic and looming lockdown
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday called on the government to revisit vaccination protocols after thousands of people flocked to vaccination sites a day before the reimposed hard lockdown in Metro Manila begins.
“While our biggest problem remains to be the lack of sufficient vaccine supply to cover the whole population, the CHR also underscores the importance of a well-designed and scientifically-informed vaccination distribution plans to ensure strict implementation of health and safety protocols on the ground,” said CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia.
“This entails revisiting the whole system from vaccine registration up until the day of receiving the vaccines to avoid overcrowding and long queues in vaccination centers,” she added.
According to De Guia, difficulties in securing slots push people to head to vaccination centers and take their chances in getting inoculated against COVID-19. Such circumstances, she also said, lead to long lines at vaccination hubs – at times making people forget about physical distancing.
“Instead of mitigating the virus, these events, if not managed accordingly, can lead to more COVID-19 infections and be superspreader events in the face of a more potent Delta variant,” said De Guia.
The CHR also urged the national government to look into the plight of indigent populations, “such as the poorest of the poor and homeless, who also need to be vaccinated but have limited to no access to online registration procedures.”
De Guia then stressed the importance of a strong information dissemination campaign by local government units (LGUs) to keep their constituents up-to-date about their latest vaccination status and processes.
She added that errors and inconsistencies in the system, misinformation, and unpleasant experiences in vaccination sites may contribute to increased vaccine hesitancy among the public.
Further, De Guia urged LGUs to prioritize vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and those with comorbidities.
“Reasonable accommodation should also be provided especially if people cannot physically line up in vaccination sites due to health reasons,” she said.
“As we implement stricter community quarantines with the surge of new Covid-19 cases, we cannot overemphasize that, if the government is truly faithful to its commitment that “we heal as one,” no Filipino should be left behind,” she added.
On Thursday morning, at least 19,000 individuals flocked to Manila City’s vaccination sites in a bid to get vaccinated before the hard lockdown.
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