Villanueva urges IATF to vaccinate people at evacuation centers

Published July 25, 2021, 4:24 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Joel Villanueva on Sunday, July 25 called on the government to bring its COVID-19 vaccination drive to people in temporary shelters to make sure these evacuation sites would not become potential “super spreader” events.

Evacuation centers, Villanueva pointed out, are “closed, confined, and crammed” places that could be a hotbed for transmission of the coronavirus, especially the Delta variant.

“Let’s bring the vaccines to our evacuees in order to accelerate the rollout of the vaccines,” Villanueva said.

“If there are health personnel already monitoring their situation on the ground, let’s count the number of persons who are not yet vaccinated and get them inoculated,” the senator said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), he said, should proactively pursue preemptive vaccination, on top of preemptive evacuation.

The lawmaker pointed out that the number of calamity-prone individuals, while in the millions, only represent a fraction of the country’s population.

“What we should avoid is a calamity on top of another calamity. It’s difficult to face a double whammy of a COVID-19, floods, earthquake or a volcanic eruption,” he pointed out.

Citing a 2021 Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID), Villanueva said 4.56 million Filipinos were displaced in 2020 alone.

Typhoon Fabian, which has inundated a wide swath of land in Luzon has driven 14,000 people across different provinces to temporarily move to evacuation centers for safety, according to disaster officials.

“We already know the geohazard places. They are prone to flooding and other calamities. Let’s prioritize the residents of these areas,” he stressed.