Region 12 cities bring COVID-19 vaccination drive to grassroots

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 10 October) – The four cities comprising Region 12 (Soccsksargen) have brought their COVID-19 vaccination drives in the grassroots, or allowing walk-in clients, to get more people inoculated.

Health workers perform vaccination aboard General Santos City’s “bakuna bus” at the central public market. Photo from the LGU-GenSan Facebook page

In this city, the seat of government of Region 12, Dr. Stephen Mortera, acting city health officer, said the local government unit (LGU) has started vaccinating the public down to the barangay level.

Since the COVID-19 vaccination drive rolled out early this year across the region, the inoculation of qualified citizens in this city, also the provincial capital of South Cotabato province, is being conducted at a mall.

“The public’s response for the mass vaccination in the barangays was positive,” Mortera said in a statement.

He noted that by bringing the COVID-19 vaccination to the grassroots, the LGU breached the daily 1,000 injection target set by the Department of Health in Region 12 (DOH-12).

In General Santos City, the LGU rolled off the mobile Resbakuna COVID-19 Response to places outside the mall-based mega vaccination sites, particularly to the city’s public market.

The COVID-19 vaccination in the public market is scheduled every Wednesday and Saturday.

Richard John Casabuena, a village official from Barangay City Heights who assisted the mobile vaccination drive, encouraged market vendors and patrons to get inoculated with COVID-19.

“We don’t force the people to get the vaccine, it’s purely voluntary,” said Casabuena, who went around the public market announcing the vaccination drive using a megaphone.

“Let us get inoculated and support the COVID-19 vaccination drive so we can save more lives,” he said.

Rock Garay, village chief of Barangay Dadiangas South, said they requested the city government to deploy the “bakuna” bus to the public market to get the vendors injected with the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We know our vendors are busy making a living. Now with the bakuna bus coming to the public market, there’s no more excuse for our vendors not to get inoculated,” he said.

In Tacurong City, Mayor Lino Montilla said they also rolled out mobile vaccination to bring the government’s inoculation drive closer to the people.

The mayor said they formed two teams to compose the mobile vaccination – one assigned to the barangays and the other going around to cater to senior citizens who have difficulties moving around.

To boost its vaccination drive, Montilla said the LGU bought two sub-zero freezers for the city to avail of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

“We are getting more COVID-19 vaccine supplies because of our storage facilities,” Montilla said.

In Kidapawan City, Mayor Joseph Evangelista said the LGU initiated the drive thru and walk-in COVID-19 vaccination, using the city-owned bus unit, to reach unvaccinated residents 18 years old or older.

He noted that the COVID-19 vaccination will significantly curb the spread of the disease.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, 18 October, DOH-12 recorded 54,467 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 49,608 recoveries, 2,935 active cases and 1,915 COVID-related deaths. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)