Gov’t eyeing to expand COVID-19 vaccination in drug stores by mid-February

Published January 20, 2022, 4:01 PM

by Analou de Vera


The government is looking at expanding the COVID-19 vaccination in drugstores by mid-February, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday, Jan. 20.

This is in a bid to make COVID-19 vaccine booster doses more accessible to the public, said DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje.

“After the first rollout, after one week and evaluation, NCR [National Capital Region]-wide muna tayo and then after NCR-wide, siguro by second week or third week of February, pwede nating umpisahan sa iba’t ibang panig ng ating bansa (After the one-week pilot-run and evaluation, it will be NCR-wide. Then by the second or third week of February, we can start in other parts of the country),” said Cabotaje in a public briefing.

“[It will be] based on the readiness assessment of our regional offices. We will tap those that are willing and ready,” she added.

On Thursday, the government rolled out the pilot implementation of “Resbakuna sa Botika” program in five establishments in Metro Manila, where COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are being offered.

These establishments include: Generika Drugstore in Signal Village in Taguig, Mercury Drug in President Quirino Avenue in Malate, Manila; Southstar Drug in Barangay Concepcion Uno, Marikina City; TGP in Sun Valley, Paranaque City’ and Watsons in SM Supercenter Pasig.

Cabotaje said that they are eyeing to give booster shots to a total of 500 people for the initial implementation of the program in the said five drugstores.

The vaccine brands that will initially be administered in the said sites are Sinovac and AstraZeneca, said Cabotaje.

“After the phase 1 or the phase 2, tingnan natin kung puwede nang bigyan ng ibang bakuna, kasi iyong Pfizer at saka iyong Moderna, kaunting sensitive handling (After phase 1 or phase 2, let’s see if we can make available the other vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna—because such brands require sensitive handling),” she said.