The government is considering allowing workplaces to serve as vaccination sites to make it easier for unvaccinated workers to get their jabs against COVID-19.
“We want to make vaccines more accessible to workers,” Labor Undersecretary Benjo Santos Benavidez said in Filipino during an online briefing.
To get even more people protected against COVID-19, the government has also begun the pilot run for its “Resbakuna sa mga Botika,” a program to get pharmacies to administer booster shots in Metro Manila.
A medical adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF), Dr. Ted Herbosa, said each pharmacy in the pilot run will administer up to 100 doses per day.
Seven pharmacies are taking part in the pilot run amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. Three opened Thursday, and four will open Friday, Herbosa said.
Only booster shots will be administered during the weeklong pilot run.
The participating pharmacies are: Mercury Drug in Pres. Quirino Avenue, Malate, Manila; Southstar Drug in Marikina; Watsons in SM Supercenter Pasig; Generika Drugstore in Signal 1, Taguig; The Generics Pharmacy in Edison St. Sun Valley, Parañaque; QualiMed Clinic in McKinley Road, Makati;and Healthway in Manila.
The NTF said all persons aged 18 and above, aside from senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities, can get their COVID-19 booster shots through the program.
Deputy Chief Implementer Vince Dizon on Wednesday said walk-ins are allowed but they will still need to register online once at the pharmacies.
“Our plan is that once a pharmacy starts, it will continue. The government will continuously supply them with vaccines,” Dizon said in Filipino.
The boosters will be administered daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. after the initial rollout.
Dizon reminded the public to bring their vaccination cards as well as valid government IDs.
As of Jan. 16, the NTF said a total of 55,195,486 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday two COVID-19 vaccine brands—Sinovac and AstraZeneca — will be available in drugstores and clinics during the trial run of their booster jab rollout.
Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, who chairs the National Vaccination Operations Center, said both vaccines can be stored in regular refrigerators.
After an evaluation, the program will be expanded across Metro Manila.
It might be launched in other parts of the country by the second or third week of February, Cabotaje said.
“If the results are good, extra vaccination sites, extra hands will be a big help to our local government units,” Cabotaje said.