Pateros mayor says lack of health workers slowing down COVID-19 vaccination program

Published May 29, 2021, 9:18 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III said the lack of health workers such as doctors is the reason why the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination program in the municipality is at a slow pace.

“Pinipilit po nating mapabilis ang ating pagbabakuna dahil marami nga po tayong hawak-hawak na bakuna sa ngayon subalit medyo kinakapos po tayo ng health workers (We are trying to speed up our vaccination because we have many vaccines but we lack health workers),” the mayor said in a Facebook Live broadcast Friday.

Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III presenting updates of the municipality’s vaccination program during the “Bakuna Benefits” live broadcast on Facebook (Screenshot from Bakuna Benefits video / MANILA BULLETIN) 

He said there are only four doctors supervising Pateros’ two vaccination sites: the AMC Gym in Brgy. San Roque and the Pateros Catholic School-Annex.

“Pinipilit po nating makapagdadag ng health workers upang mabuksan ang ibang vaccination center (We are trying to add more health workers so we can open other vaccination centers),” the mayor said.

During the “Bakuna Benefits” live broadcast on Facebook on May 27, Ponce said of the estimated 70,000 population of Pateros, 49,000 or 70 percent are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccination in Pateros started in March and during his presentation, Ponce said 6,813 residents, equivalent to 13.9 percent of the 49,000, have received their first dose while 2,097, or 4.27 percent, were administered the second dose.

He said on average, 350 people are vaccinated daily in the two vaccination centers, way below the target of 1,000 vaccinees based on the Pateros municipal government’s vaccination plan presented last February. The plan originally targets 5,000 vaccinees per week or 20,000 per month.

Of the 6,813 residents who have been vaccinated with the first dose, 1,968 are A2 or senior citizens, equivalent to 24.4 percent of the 8,068 total population of senior citizens in Pateros. A total of 510 senior citizens received their second dose.

As of May 27, 18,534 residents, or 37.8 percent, of the target 49,000 eligible population, have registered with Pateros’ vaccination program.

Ponce said despite the slow vaccination program, Pateros will be the first to finish in Metro Manila given the small eligible population it has compared to cities in the National Capital Region.

He estimated that Pateros will finish administering all the first and second doses in the next four to five months.

The mayor also said the municipal government is ready to vaccinate those belonging to the A4 priority group, or essential workers. He said those who are not residents but who work in Pateros are eligible to get the vaccine.

He said they only need to present their company ID or certification from their employer that they are detailed in Pateros.