Drive-thru mode to ramp up vaccination – Villanueva

Published May 13, 2021, 2:55 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Novel vaccination modes such as ‘’drive-thru’’ piloted by local governments are one of the many ways in which vaccination could be ramped up “to save people from the virus and vaccines from spoilage,” Senator Joel Villanueva on Thursday said.

Villanueva called on the national government to replicate the “drive-thru, home delivery, and village-run” vaccinations which Metro Manila cities have tried with success.

He said that the pandemic managers should also consider the offer of church leaders to open up places of worship to serve as an additional vaccine site.

“And if we add company-run workplace vaccinations to the equation, we are opening five new tracks on which vaccine deliveries can speed through,” Villanueva said.

He also urged the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to act on the clamor of some private hospitals to participate in mass vaccinations. “We need all hands on deck. The more sites, the better.”

Low supply plus slow rollout is a toxic combination friendly to the virus, the senator said.

“The Philippine archipelago should not become some like subcontinent,” Villanueva said, referring to India’s runaway COVID 19 infection and death rates from a triple mutant virus the World Health Organization (WHO) has tagged as a global threat.

Employing other means to spike daily vaccination numbers would not only boost the nation’s protection against whatever variants there are, “but, at the same time, prepare us when vaccines will finally arrive in large numbers,’’ he added.

Villanueva said the “vaccinate at home” service for seniors, persons with disabilities, and sick persons being conducted by city governments in the National Capital Region (NCR) is one way to increase our “vaccine absorptive capacity.”

Drive-thru jabbing like the one Makati is holding is another effective means, he said.

He said the village-run vaccinations, done by volunteer doctors and nurses from among homeowners, are being done in Quezon City

“This can relieve overworked city health employees,” Villanueva said.

“We have to think outside the box and meet the vaccine recipients where it is convenient to them: in their homes, in their cars, in village halls and clubhouses, in churches and places of worship, or in the workplace,” he added.

“The modern day, de-facto town plaza—the mall—should also come into the picture,” he st stressed.

He warned that the 36,000 to 67,000 daily vaccination rate “is below the ideal speed that will bring us to herd immunity.”

As of May 11, a total of 7,764,050 vaccines have been delivered to the Philippines. Of this, 6,408,640 have already been distributed nationwide, but only 2,539,693 doses have been administered.

Of those who have been vaccinated, a total of 2,025,038 people got the first dose while only 514,655 people got the second dose, data from the DOH showed.

“Vaccination acceleration is critical,” the senator added, as 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca will expire on June 30, while another 525,000 doses will expire on July 31.