Overcrowded vaccination sites can lead to more infections -- CHR


Overcrowded vaccination sites where physical distancing is ignored “can lead to more COVID-19 infections and be super spreader events in the face of the more potent Delta variant.”

This warning was issued by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) which noted that there were large crowds that gathered for their vaccinations a day before the National Capital Region (NCR) is placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting Friday, Aug. 6.

Through CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia, a lawyer, the CHR said:

"People seen without physical distancing. Others have raised that they waited a night before, without eating and sleeping, just to fail getting vaccinated. Similar situations were also reported in areas outside Metro Manila.

"Instead of mitigating the virus, these events, if not managed accordingly, can lead to more COVID-19 infections and be super spreader events in the face of a more potent Delta variant.”

De Guia said there is still “room for improvement” in the vaccination roll-out of local government units (LGUs).

She pointed out that the country's biggest problem remains to be the lack of sufficient vaccine supply.

However, she noted that a "well-designed and scientifically-informed" vaccination distribution plan would be the key to ensuring that there will be strict implementation of health and safety protocols on the ground.

"This entails revisiting the whole system from vaccine registration up until the day of receiving the vaccines to avoid overcrowding and long queues in vaccination centers," she said.

Many Filipinos really want to get vaccinated, but they encounter difficulties in securing slots using online booking systems, De Gua said.

As a result, these Filipinos proceed to vaccination centers and try their luck to get jabs without any assurance, therefore resulting in long queues without proper physical distancing, she noted.

"Simple, accurate, and direct-to-the-point communication is vital to quell misleading information that creates unnecessary panic and confusion among people, particularly among unvaccinated individuals," she said.

Aside from the poor and the homeless, the CHR also hoped that the government would remove the barriers and challenges of other vulnerable members of society, particularly the elderly, persons with disabilities (PWDs), pregnant women, and those with comorbidities, she added.

"Reasonable accommodation should also be provided especially if people cannot physically line up in vaccination sites due to health reasons," she stressed.