Mayor Sara supports proposal to use churches as vaccination sites

A church in Davao City announces the temporary suspension of masses. The suspension started on Sunday, 15 March 2020. Davao City under its community quarantine guidelines has discouraged the holding of religious activities where people can converge, to prevent COVID-19 infection. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 May) – Mayor Sara Duterte has endorsed to the vaccine cluster of Davao City COVID-19 Task Force the proposal of Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles to use churches as sites for the mass vaccination program of the government.

During her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday, Duterte said Catholic churches are ideal sites for the inoculation program because they are more convenient and have bigger spaces with seats. 

“The Roman Catholic church has offered its facilities because these are spaces which are big and have seats. We have endorsed to the vaccine cluster the offer of Archbishop Valles,” she said.

She said the COVID-19 vaccination sites in the city include SM City in Ecoland, SM Lanang Premier, public schools, and hospitals.

The vaccination rollout here started last March 5 for health workers and May 11 for senior citizens.

Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, head of the city’s vaccination cluster, said on Tuesday over DCDR. 87.5 that they a total of 18 vaccination sites, and plans to open more sites soon.

Villafuerte urged senior citizens, who comprise the A2 priority list of the government, to have themselves pre-registered for the vaccination.

She said senior citizens could go to their nearest district health center if they prefer the vaccines of US-based Pfizer-BioNTech over other brands.

“Let’s say, if you are a senior citizen and then you prefer the vaccine of Pfizer, just have yourself listed with the nearest health center so that your names will be forwarded to the hospital where you can receive Pfizer,” she said.

Duterte told the public to get the vaccines whenever possible.

“Please do not delay getting the vaccine. Of course, it’s voluntary but we highly encourage everyone to read about the vaccines, and get vaccinated. We cannot achieve herd immunity with 200,000 or 300,000 only. It has to be more,” she said.

Duterte said local health authorities target at least 1.2 million people in the city to achieve herd immunity.

As of May 17, Department of Health-Davao reported 47 new infections, bringing the total cases to 25,049, with 1,541 active ones, 22,481 recoveries, and 1,027 deaths in the region.

Of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 incidence in Mindanao, tallied 15,311 cases, with 692 active ones, 13,905 recoveries, and 714 deaths.

Davao de Oro reported 1,719 cases, Davao del Norte 4,590, Davao del Sur 1,664, Davao Occidental 246, and Davao Oriental 1,519. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)