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‘Ensure safe vaccination amid rains’

The Department of the Interior and Local Government yesterday echoed the call of President Rodrigo Duterte for local government units to ensure that people are not exposed to health risks and other hazards detrimental to their safety on the day of their vaccination amid torrential monsoon rains and flooding in several areas of the country in the past few days.

In a directive to governors, mayors, and village chiefs, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said LGUs must see to it that vaccination sites, including their outside premises and queuing areas, are safe and convenient with little to no exposure to rain, flood, and other natural or man-made hazards.

“While we are ramping up efforts to vaccinate the majority of our populace, LGUs should take into consideration the safety and convenience of both the vaccination workforce and the vaccine recipients. Our LGUs must ensure that our vaccination sites are orderly and not flood-prone so that our fellowmen will not be exposed to other diseases,” he said.

He said LGUs should also ensure that facilities in vaccination sites are designed to give special accommodation to senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, and persons with disabilities.

“Let’s not make the situation hard for our fellowmen, especially senior citizens, persons with comorbidities and PWDs, who will get vaccinated. Let us make their vaccination as smooth and hassle-free as possible,” he said.

He tasked LGUs to make their scheduling and appointment system more efficient with definite time slots in order to prevent long lines and unreasonable queuing, especially in the morning.

“Let us come up with an organized system for vaccination so that people will not go vaccination sites at the same time, thus ensuring observance of physical distancing. The safety of everyone should be top of mind as we carry out our vaccination efforts and especially during this rainy season. Let us prepare our constituents and make sure that know what to do in case sudden problems occur during vaccination activities,” he said.

Duterte earlier expressed concern over long lines in vaccination centers and the risk of leptospirosis amid the rains and floods. He then tasked the DILG to issue a directive for LGUs to ensure smoother vaccination drives, especially during floods.

An advisory issued by the National Vaccination Operations Center, headed by the Department of Health, said that LGUs should look for an alternative vaccination site and immediately transfer the vaccination operations to the site as far as practicable if the vaccination sites and their immediate perimeter are flooded.

The advisory also said that if a transfer is not feasible, vaccination activities may be suspended and resumed once the weather situation permits and the flood has subsided.

It added that those who will be affected by the change in the schedule of vaccination or transfer of vaccination site should also be duly informed.*PNA

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