What was supposed to be a momentous event turned out to be chaotic as the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine at a mall in Paranaque City on Monday, May 17, was heavily criticized for the poor handling of the vaccinees, resulting to violation of minimum health standards such as the observance of social distancing.
The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 expressed concern over the “obvious lack of social distancing” by the vaccinees during the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine at a mall along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard corner Aseana Avenue.
Prior to the rollout, the Paranaque City government announced that the event was “strictly intended for scheduled patients with secured slots” but photos and videos posted by netizens on social media showed that scores of people showed up at the venue and social distancing was no longer observed.
A netizen, Chinggay Kanapi, who posted photos of the vaccination event, described the incident as a “super spreader event” as she claimed that “thousands and thousands of people [were] milling around with no information where to fall in line.”
Kanapi told the Manila Bulletin that she initially waited at the parking lot of the mall where the vaccinees would have to enter before being allowed to get the vaccine but she was surprised to see that physical distancing was not observed.
“After so many hours waiting in that awful parking lot, my driver came up to me and said that there was an easier way. We passed thru McDo and entered the mall without being stopped. Then it was a breeze going thru the process in the vaccine area! I pity the ones outside who didn’t figure it out like my driver,” Kanapi said.
In a statement, the NTF said that the Pfizer vaccine rollout in Paranaque “underscores the vaccine enthusiasm” of the Filipinos but stressed the importance of adherence to health protocols.
“Having said this, the National Task Force will work closely to support our local government units even as we call on our local chief executives to ensure that our Prevent – Detect – Isolate – Treat – Reintegrate (PDITR) strategies are implemented consistently,” the NTF said.
It added that the “timely” announcement and dissemination of vaccine information and education shall be communicated by the local chief executives.
The Paranaque City government has yet to issue a statement on the incident but the NTF assured that the local government unit led by Mayor Edwin Olivarez “has immediately addressed” the concern.
A total of 193,050 doses of Pfizer vaccine arrived in the country from the Covax facility last May 10.
The initial doses were distributed to areas with the highest attack rate of COVID-19 including Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.