Marikina joins national gov’t in opening COVID vaccinations in pharmacies
MANILA, Philippines — Marikina City has joined other local government units and the national government in bringing COVID-19 vaccinations to pharmacies, in an effort to hasten the country’s immunization program amid another surge in number of infections.
According to Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro, the move is geared at bringing COVID-19 vaccines closer to the people, instead of vaccinations being centralized at previously set-up sites.
This would also allow vaccinated individuals who are buying their medicines to get their booster shots at the pharmacy near them, sparing people from the inconvenience of long queues.
“Ang Resbakuna sa Botika ay additional access point para sa mga gustong magpabakuna, mas convenient dahil kung sila ay bibili ng gamot, kayo ay nasa lugar na ito, makakapagbakuna na sila. Hindi na sila kailangang pumunta sa malayong lugar para magpabakuna,” Teodoro said in a statement on Thursday.
(Resbakuna sa Botika is an additional access point for those who want to be vaccinated, which is more convenient because if they would buy medicines, they are in this area already, they can have themselves vaccinated. They do not need to go to farther places or vaccination sites just to get the jabs.)
“Sa ganitong paraan ay na-de-democratize natin ‘yung access to vaccination (With this measure, we can democratize the access to vaccinations),” he added.
The first private pharmacy in Marikina allowed to administer COVID-19 vaccines is located in the city’s Barangay Concepcion Uno.
The mayor said that the first pharmacy in Marikina that was allowed to administer free COVID-19 booster shots seeks to jab around 100 to 200 individuals per day.
“On a per day basis, ang target natin dito na mabakunahan ay 100 hanggang 200 katao ang output capacity nitong Resbakuna sa Botika. Kaya malaking bagay ito, ang target na output capacity ng Marikina para sa isang araw para sa booster shots ay 10,000 vaccinees,” he explained.
(On a per day basis, our target is to administer vaccines for around 100 to 200 individuals as an output capacity of this Resbakuna sa Botika. That’s why this is a huge boost, that the output capacity of Marikina per day for booster shots would balloon to 10,000 vaccinees.)
“In addition to this, inaasahan natin ang ginagawa dito sa Southstar Drugstore na Resbakuna ay magiging halimbawa o panimula para sa iba pang pharmacy o drugstore sa Marikina,” he added.
(In addition to this, we are expecting the initiative from the Southstar Drugstore that their Resbakuna would set an example or signal the start of vaccinations in other pharmacies or drugstores in Marikina.)
During the program on Thursday, Teodoro was joined by several other officials including Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing. According to the local chief executive, their target is to immunize workers to ensure that economic activities would resume quickly.
“Pinapayagan din naman ang walk-in kung mayroon pang available slots sa araw na iyon, dipende sa supply ng bakuna pero may buffer naman na inilalaan sa mga walk-in lalo na sa mga kailangan talaga magbakuna,” he added.
(We also allow walk-ins if there are available slots for that day, depending on the supply of the vaccines but there is a buffer stock allocated for walk-ins especially those who really need to get vaccinated.)
The national government recently rolled out the planned vaccinations in select pharmacies, to boost its COVID-19 immunization program. In an earlier statement, acting Presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that as of Thursday, 56.8 million individuals have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
At least 65 million have received a first dose, which means that a total of 122,321,531 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, including the 5.87 million booster doses given.
Vaccinations are seen as an important tool in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the Omicron variant spurring a quick transmission of the disease. Recently, the country saw a sharp uptick in cases, from just 56,561 active cases last January 6 to a record-high 291,618 on Wednesday.
As the Department of Health confirmed the community transmission of the Omicron variant, several health experts believe that it would soon replace the Delta variant as the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the country.