Crowd flocks to Olongapo jab site amid ‘no vax, no entry’ policy

January 11, 2022 - 3:28 PM
A healthworker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine for protection against the coronavirus disease at a cinema turned into a temporary vaccination site in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines, December 15, 2021. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo)

A crowd of Filipinos clamoring to get inoculated were seen outside a vaccination site in Olongapo City after the local government implemented a new policy against unvaccinated individuals.

A Facebook user uploaded a video of the incident on the same day, where outstretched arms were spotted beyond the gates of Columban College.

According to an ABS-CBN News report, people were asking for a stub number in queue while others had climbed on the fence of the school.

Olongapo City Vice Mayor Jong Cortez said that they were not expecting a throng of people to come at the particular vaccination site.

The uploaded video has earned 1,200 reactions, 2,600 shares and more than 500 comments on the social networking platform so far.

Filipinos were divided on their thoughts about the matter.

Some expressed dismay at how the crowd was handled amid superspreading concerns, while others blamed those who rushed to the vaccination site during the last minute instead of availing it on the previous days.

“Harun ‘di (organized) dapat i-schedule or every barangay (may) vaccination day para iwas dagsa at hawaan na, kasi wala ng social distancing),” a Facebook user wrote in the comments.

“Hindi (talaga) organisado ang gobyerno (natin) haist na lang. Kawawa ang mga tao,” wrote another online user in response to the video.

Social or physical distancing is among the minimum public health standards implemented by the national government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Department of Health said that people must stay a minimum of one meter away from each other for preventive measures against the virus. This is nearly equivalent to a motorcycle’s length.

Physical distancing is done to mitigate the risk of catching the virus, which can be transmitted through fine airborne particles or respiratory droplets emitted when one talks, shouts, sings, coughs, sneezes or exhales.

This is because the virus can also be transmitted by asymptomatic people or those who do not have symptoms but are infected.

“(Diyan) mahusay ang Pinoy. Noon, ayaw niyo magpbakuna kesyo masama ang (epekto) sa katawan tapos maghahabol (kayo). Ang dami panahon, ‘wag na (kayo) mamili ng gamot, pare-parehas lang ‘yan,” a different Filipino commented to the video.

“‘Yan ‘yong mga taong matitigas ang mga ulo, kailangan pa silang takutin bago magpa-vaccine, kasi no vaccine, no entry na,” a Facebook user likewise wrote.

Olongapo City has been regularly posting about its vaccination roll out on social media before implementing its new policy about unvaccinated individuals.

The government is not requiring COVID-19 vaccination but it is highly encouraging Filipinos to receive a shot for the country to reach herd immunity against the virus.

“The pandemic ends when almost everyone has immunity, preferably because they were vaccinated or alternatively because they were infected and survived. When that happens, the cycle of surges will stop and the pandemic will peter out,” a report from The Atlantic noted.

Olongapo City on Monday began to implement the “no vaccination, no entry” policy to non-residents in light of the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Border checkpoints were also set up which requires non-residents to present proof of vaccination before they can enter the city.

Olongapo City is one of the five areas in Central Luzon that was placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 until January 15.

Alert Level 3 is implemented in areas “wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization.”

Intrazonal and interzonal movements are still allowed in this level but “reasonable restrictions may be imposed by the LGUs.”

As of January 10, Olongapo City has 5,684 total confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of these, 223 are active cases.

A total of 5,143 individuals have recovered while 318 individuals have died.

There are also 20 suspected cases and one probable case, according to the city’s information center.