WITH the recent reports of the Covid-19 Delta variant having reached Laguna province, authorities are compelled to fast-track the current pace of the national government’s Covid-19 vaccination program.
The good news is, in the city of Biñan, Laguna, it’s the residents themselves who now volunteer to register and queue up for the city’s vaccination program.
What’s more, the city government has gone out of its way to speed up the vaccination program, from drive-through centers to “vaccination on wheels” that delivers the vaccines to the people’s front doors.
When in the past, the city’s Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) had a hard time convincing people – especially senior citizens – to get themselves vaccinated against the virus, health officials in the city now believe their massive information campaign have convinced the skeptics.
“Base po sa naranasan po namin, mas marami na po ang mas may gustong magpabakuna kaysa nooong mga naunang buwan,” Shy Christine Cadang, administrator of the Ospital ng Biñan (OsBin) told OpinYon Laguna.
“Ito po ay ikinatutuwa ng lahat ng health worker dahil ang pagbabakuna ang isa sa nakikitang solusyon para matapos ang pandemya na ating kinakaharap.”
According to statistics provided by the two City Health Offices (CHOs) of Biñan City, the city’s vaccination teams have administered a total of 54,614 doses of Covid-19 vaccines since the program started last March.
Of these, 39,207 have received their first doses, while 15,407 have completed their second doses.
According to Dr. Mirabelle Benjamin of CHO 1, almost half of vaccinated Binañenses came from the A3 priority group (persons with comorbidities) with 27,399 vaccinated from the group, followed by the A2 group, or senior citizens (14,604) and A1 group, or frontline healthcare workers (11,471).
Vaccine on wheels
The city continues to operate three major vaccination hubs at the Alonte Sports Arena, Umbria Commercial Center and Southwoods Mall, which include a “drive-through” vaccination center where vaccine recipients need not to get out of their cars to get themselves inoculated.
“Mapayapa naman po ang takbo ng ating bakunahan, sa ngayon po wala naman po kami naranasang problema,” Cadang noted.
Operating hours of the two vaccination centers vary, depending on the number of registered vaccine recipients as well as the supplies and storage requirements of the vaccines.
According to Dr. Jenalyn Mendoza of CHO 2, at one point, they had to extend vaccination hours until 10:00 p.m. due to the volume of people wishing to take one particular Covid-19 vaccine brand.
“Inabot nang 2,000 ang naserbisyuhan namin noong araw na iyon,” she told OpinYon Laguna.
The city government also launched a “Bakuna on Wheels” program on July 23 in Barangay Loma.
Under the program, minibuses will bring the vaccination program to remote areas and spare priority groups, especially senior citizens, of the hassle of having to travel to vaccination centers.
The “Bakuna on Wheels” program can accommodate up to 300 residents a day, according to city health officials.
“Yung vaccine po mismo ang dadalhin natin sa mga barangay, para sa mga senior na hindi kayang pumunta, lalo na sa mga outlying barangay ng Biñan. Kasi may mga barangay po tayo na medyo malalayo sa mga vaccination centers natin,” Dr. Benjamin explained.
Ready versus Delta variant
Even before reports of two positive cases of the more-contagious Delta variant in nearby Calamba City on July 22, the city’s health officials had already been preparing in earnest.
Mas pinaigting po natin ang surveillance, contact tracing, and monitoring ng mga kababayan nating naglalabas-pasok ng Biñan,” Dr. Mendoza of CHO 2 said.
Aside from this, the city has also stepped up the enforcement of minimum health protocols such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks and face shields, and the use of the city’s BIND360 mobile app for contact tracing.
“Ang atin pong kampanya laban sa Covid-19 Delta variant ay ang pagsunod sa minimun health protocols at umaasa na ang pagbabakuna sa ating kababayan ay makatulong sa pagbaba ng malubhang kaso ng nakamamatay na coronavirus,” Dr. Mendoza added.
However, some city officials said Covid-19 testing is “beyond their control,” complicating their efforts to halt the spread of the virus.
“Minsan po kasi, nale-late na po yung mga resulta ng Covid-19 tests,” Dr. Benjamin added. “Meron nga pong magaling na, o marami nang nae-expose, saka pa po namin nalalaman na positive pala yung pasyente.”
Meanwhile, Cadang said the OsBin is already preparing for a possible surge in Covid-19 cases, as the OCTA Research has predicted up to 10,000 cases a day should the Delta variant become the dominant strain.
“Puspusan pa din po ang paghahanda ng Ospital ng Biñan, katuwang ang city government headed by our City Mayor Arman Dimaguila, kung sakaling tumaas ang kaso ng Delta variant. Ang ospital po ay mayroon nang Covid-19 ward na nag-cacater ng mild to moderate Covid symptoms,” she added.
Dr. Benjamin also reminded Biñanenses to keep practicing health protocols even after they have been vaccinated.
“Hindi po porke vaccinated na tayo ay pwede na po tayong magtanggal ng mask, o hindi na tayo sumunod sa mga health protocols,” she said.