PHL vaccination drive in pharmacies, clinics start; walk-ins allowed but should first register onsite – Dizon

Only Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccine doses as booster shots to be used in pilot run since these jabs don’t need ultra-cold storage, according to DOH

Sceenshot of Laging Handa press briefing (Courtesy PCOO/RTVM)


(Eagle News) – Walk-ins are allowed in the “Resbakuna sa Botika” program that starts today, Thursday, January 20, but they have to still online when they arrive in participating pharmacies which are part of the pilot implementation in Metro Manila.

COVID-19 testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon said that the pilot in Metro Manila would also concentrate on booster shots. After the pilot week, the vaccination in selected pharmacies and clinics could be widened to other pharmacies outside the Philippine capital region.

Participating clinics could, however, administer primary and secondary doses, including boosters.

The Department of Health, particularly Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, said that only Sinovac and Astrazeneca vaccines as boosters would be provided to the pharmacies and clinics.

Dizon explained that this COVID-19 vaccination in pharmacies and clinics is meant to bring closer to the general public the COVID-19 jabs so more would be protected against the virus, especially with the confirmed community transmission of the Omicron variant.

“Puwede rin pong mag-walk-in pero pagdating nila sa botika kailangan nilang mag-register online doon sa mga botika mismo,” Dizon said.

He said that the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the Department of Health had devised a system in partnership with pharmacies where those who want to be vaccinated could register onsite.

May sistema nang inaayos ang ating DICT at ang ating DOH in partnerships sa ating mga botika kaya puwede silang mag-register onsite. Pero mayroon ding sistema na magri-register sila online para mapadali,” he said.

Dizon said that they believe that with this strategy, more Filipinos would be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In the pilot week, pharmacies could only administer boosters, but after this, they could also vaccinate and primary and second doses. In the initial implementation, they would just have to assess first how many would be able to avail of the vaccines.

Vaccination of boosters in pharmacies would be for those 18 years old and above.

Only Sinovac and AstraZeneca would be used in the vaccination in pharmacies and clinics as these could be stored in regular refrigerators, according to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje on Thursday, January 20, in a Laging Handa press briefing.

Cabotaje said that they would assess the needs and other gaps in the vaccination in pharmacies and clinics after the pilot implementation.

-Vaccination in pharmacies and clinics could expand by mid-February-

In the second and third week of February, “based on the readiness assessment of regional offices” on the willingness and readiness of other pharmacies and clinics in regions outside Metro Manila, then it’s possible to widen the coverage of the “Resbakuna sa Botika” program, she said.

Dizon assured that the vaccination in clinics and pharmacies would eventually be done in other regions.

Papalawakin naman natin ‘to ‘no, kailangan lang siyempre may kasamang pag-iingat at susubukan muna natin ang sistema natin sa mga botika dahil unang beses natin gagawin ito. Pero makakaasa ang mga kababayan natin na papalawakin natin ‘to pati mga primary dose at mga second dose, hindi lamang mga booster ang puwede nating gawin sa mga botika,” he said in a Laging Handa press briefing on Wednesday, January 19.

Those who want to have their boosters may choose from the following participating pharmacies and private clinics: Healthway Manila Clinic, Mercury Drug Manila Malate President Quirino Branch, Southstar SSD Marikina Branch, Watsons SM Supercenter Pasig, Generika Signal 1 Branch in Taguig, TGP Paranaque Branch, and QualiMed McKinley.

The limit per day for each site is 100 vaccine doses, according to Cabotaje for the pilot implementation that starts today, Thursday.

Mabilis lang po itong pilot natin; siguro mga isang linggo lang ito. At sa mga susunod na linggo, susunod na araw, papalawakin na natin ito sa mga iba’t ibang siyudad. Uumpisahan muna natin sa mga siyudad and later on, pati sa mga iba’t ibang probinsiya ay ii-expand na natin itong programang ito. Mabilis po ito, siguro mga ilang linggo lang ang bibilangin natin, mapapalawak na natin ito s buong bansa,” Dizon said.

The vaccinators in pharmacies would be the pharmacist themselves who have the capability to also administer vaccines.

“Ngayon, iyong mga vaccinator po ay manggagaling sa mga botika. Iyong mga pharmacist po natin ay iyan po ay mga qualified naman. Sila po ay dumaan na sa kailangang training kaya po sila ay importanteng dagdag sa ating vaccination program, lalung-lalo na sa mga kapanahunan ngayon na marami po sa ating mga vaccinators sa LGUs ay nagkakasakit,” Dizon said.

(Eagle News Service)