PMS proposes to use empty schools as vaccination sites

Senior citizens and persons with comorbidities line up at the City Coliseum waiting to be vaccinated. // File photo.

Aside from city malls, the Palawan Medical Society (PMS) has recommended to the Puerto Princesa City government to use empty school buildings and introduce drive-thru vaccination to augment current vaccination efforts.

So far, Robinson’s Mall was confirmed as one of the venues for upcoming vaccination drives.

According to medical society president Dr. Paul Saludez, they proposed expanding the vaccination sites to malls because of the current limits in the present mega vaccination site which is the City Coliseum.

“Kami ang nag-propose sa city, and they agreed to support us naman. Kasi we were observing ‘yong system sa [City] Coliseum, we wanted to modify and innovate on how we can vaccinate more people in a shorter period of time. That was one of our objectives,” he said in an interview Friday, May 21.

Saludez confirmed that school buildings are also being eyed as vaccination sites, particularly in the rural barangays of Puerto Princesa. However, they are still figuring out how school buildings can be used so there will be no crowding or running into teachers on duty. Aside from school buildings, public parks are also being considered.

“I think Mendoza Park was considered. At the moment, medyo naka-focus nga muna sa city proper kasi mas maraming tao rito at mas maraming COVID cases,” he said.

NCCC Mall was also being eyed as another vaccination site, but the medical society wants to forego adding malls as vaccination sites so other types of patients could be accommodated.

“We’re thinking of going into drive-thru vaccination. Because some patients would be bedridden, and it is impractical for them to cue in a line,” he added.

The Puerto Princesa City CoVac announced Friday morning that on Sunday, May 23, Robinson’s Mall Puerto Princesa will be hosting the city’s vaccination efforts. However, special priority will be given to those who have already received their first doses of AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines. The vaccination will run from 8am to 5pm.

SM Puerto Princesa is also being eyed as a vaccination site, but Saludez stated that this will be for the Palawan provincial government’s vaccination efforts. The mall is also currently a COVID vaccine registration center for those who cannot register online.

The city’s primary mega vaccination site at the City Coliseum became crowded on Wednesday because some unregistered individuals flocked to the site. Health authorities reiterated after the incident to first register online and wait for a confirmatory text message before heading to the vaccination facilities.

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