‘Resbakuna sa mga Botika‘: Some pharmacies, clinics to serve as vax sites starting this week | Inquirer News

‘Resbakuna sa mga Botika‘: Some pharmacies, clinics to serve as vax sites starting this week

MANILA, Philippines — Booster shots for COVID-19 will be available in certain pharmacies and clinics in Metro Manila on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21.

The government will pilot the program, dubbed “Resbakuna sa mga Botika,” in seven pharmacies and clinics in order to expand its mass immunization drive and address the shortage of vaccinators, according to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19.

Dr. Beaver Tamesis, president of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines, said pharmacists were well-trained in administering vaccines.


“They are prepared and they’ve been waiting for this opportunity to help the national effort in curbing the spread of COVID-19,” Tamesis said.


Health reformist Dr. Tony Leachon said the idea of using drugstores as vaccination sites had been forwarded as early as March 2021.

“Several of my classmates who were abroad tell me that vaccinations are conducted in Walmart,” Leachon told the Inquirer, noting that people could get jabbed in as fast as 30 minutes without having to endure long queues.

“I think that is the way to go because there would not be a problem in the cold chain facilities,” Leachon said.

‘Way forward’

He said the proximity of the pharmacies to people’s residences would be key in the strategy, especially in view of the government’s “no vaccination, no ride” policy.

Galvez himself observed that other countries had been tapping big pharmacies and clinics as well as the services of pharmacists in their respective vaccination drives.

“This is our way forward, to hand over the responsibility of the vaccination from the national government … to its complete devolution to the LGUs (local government units) and the private sector in preparation for the future commercialization of the vaccine,” he said at a meeting in Malacañang on Monday.


The pharmacies and clinics that will take part in the pilot program are: Healthway Manila, Mercury Drug Manila-Malate, President Quirino branch, South Star SSD Marikina branch, Watsons SM Supercenter Pasig, Generika Signal 1 Taguig branch, TGP Parañaque branch, and Qualimed Mckinley, acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

Nograles said the vaccines would be administered for free and each pharmacy or clinic would be given 50-100 booster doses per day for one week, or 500 per week, for the pilot program.

Booster recipients are required to preregister with the concerned LGU, which will co-implement the program with the pharmacy or clinic, he said, adding that the guidelines would be tweaked as the program progressed.

NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said the program would be expanded to other cities nationwide immediately after the pilot test.

“We will have smaller but more widely spread vaccination sites in the form of our pharmacies,” Dizon said.

Next step

Leachon said the government’s next step should be to provide full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to allow its commercialization.

On Aug. 23, 2021, the US Food and Drug administration (FDA) gave Pfizer the certificate of product registration after establishing its efficacy and safety.

“We should also do that here since Pfizer is the vaccine allowed for those below 18 years old,” Leachon said.

As soon as the Philippine FDA gives authority to Pfizer, the pharmacies can buy the product, he said.

“So if I were the patient, the doctor would prescribe a vaccine, then I would only have to go to the hospital’s drugstore,” he said. “Vaccine hesitancy can be addressed since the doctor can explain [the matter] to the patient properly.”

Leachon also said the pilot program could be beneficial in the implementation of limited face-to-face classes.

“Since the reach of pharmacies is nationwide, the government would not need to worry about organizing the kids because the parents could just bring their children to the doctor and they will be prescribed with the vaccine,” he said.

Low number

Galvez said the Philippines needed to ramp up its administration of booster doses.

Some 4.7 million Filipinos have received their booster shots, a low number considering that the vaccination of children, which was launched at around the same time, has reached more than 8 million, he said.

Galvez said an average of 260,000 booster doses was being administered daily, and the number should be raised to 500,000.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

He said that aside from pharmacies for the booster shots, the government would also tap “mega vaccination sites” and malls.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.


© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.