More than 3,000 medical workers from public and private hospitals such as Ospital ng Lipa and Mary Mediatrix Medical Center have already received their first dose of Sinovac or AstraZeneca vaccines since it arrived last March 11, according to Lipa City Mayor Eric Africa in his ‘Ulat sa Bayan’ report posted on his official Facebook Page, April 19.
Senior citizens are next in line in the list of the priority group; however, the vaccination rollout for outpatients, or patients staying in their own homes, is yet to be released without the national government’s approval.
“Until such time na aprubahan ng national government, saka lang po darating ang vaccine na binili ng lungsod ng Lipa para po sa ating mga kababayan,” Africa stated.
As of press time, no date has been announced yet for the expected arrival or approval of vaccines for outpatients.
Meanwhile, as soon as the new batch of vaccines arrives, the Lipa City mayor said that there would be designated vaccination sites across Lipa, including public and private establishments such as Lipa City National High School, De La Salle Lipa (DLSL), Metro Lipa Medical Center, and SM Lipa.
“Pag po dumating na po ‘yung maramihan natin [na vaccine] ay bubuksan po natin ang maraming vaccination sites, para po hindi na lumayo ang ating mga ka-barangay at doon na po kayo pupunta sa inyong malapit na vaccination center,“ said Africa.
Online registration for vaccination is also available on Mayor Eric Africa’s official Facebook page to speed up the barangay functionaries’ ongoing house-to-house registration.
To mitigate the presence of the new UK and African COVID-19 variants which is causing a spike in the number of cases and overwhelming Lipa hospitals, Africa said they had organized a free mass antigen testing last March 31 to April 16 in Community Park and Ospital ng Lipa.
A COVID Buster Mobile, which offered free rapid antigen tests, was also deployed last April 7 and 8 to cater to private companies such as Nestle Philippines and SM Lipa.
Africa also announced that the COVID Buster Mobile is available for house-to-house testing per request and confirmation of patients with COVID-19 symptoms by setting up a schedule with the mayor’s office.
However, even though there is a drastic increase in COVID-19 confirmed cases, Africa reiterated in his live interview with Balitang Lipa (102.3 CitiBeat FM) last March 29 that he would instead focus on implementing strict protocols from the national government instead of implementing lockdown, which would only worsen the effect especially for the workers.
“Hindi na kaya ng ating mga workers na mawalan na naman ng trabaho at magutom dahil sa lockdown. […] hindi maaari kasing kada magkakaroon ng problema ay lockdown ang solution […] same result [lang] din ang mangyayari,” Africa said.
Lipa City has reported more than 50 COVID-19 positives daily in two consecutive weeks, adding to a total of 3,288 confirmed cases, 754 of which are active, 2,515 recoveries, and 158 deaths as of 4 p.m., April 22.
The city, alongside the rest of Batangas Province, is placed under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) until April 30.