MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations among children and senior citizens, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno announced that these age groups can sign up to get their jabs in no less than the newly-redeveloped Manila Zoo.
“Tomorrow, we are opening the Manila Zoo wherein kids and elderly can go to Manila Zoo starting 8 am to 8 pm – 12 to 17 years-old [for their] first dose, second dose; elderly, whether guardians or parents or grandfathers and grandmothers,” said Moreno on Tuesday, January 18 during a press briefing.
Walk-in, however, is not allowed. Vaccinees have to first sign up for a Manila Zoo ticket at www.manilazoo.ph. The tickets will be free. Persons intending to get vaccinated at the zoo must also have already been registered with Manila City’s vaccination portal. Moreno said those who have not yet registered in the portal can do so at the Manila Zoo itself.
Vaccinations at the zoo will last from January 19 to 31 but may be extended depending on the success of the initiative. Each day, 1,000 COVID-19 jabs will be available at the site.
Asked why he picked Manila Zoo as his city’s latest vaccination site, Moreno said, “Gusto ko kasi makapamasyal yung bata tsaka lola. Gusto ko yung sariwang hangin, time to spend together as family.“
(I want the kids and their grandparents to enjoy. I want them to breathe fresh air, have time to spend together as family.)
Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna Pangan told Rappler the idea came from her husband, Manila Health Department Director Arnold “Poks” Pangan, a suggestion embraced by Moreno.
The Manila Zoo, renamed Bagong Maynila Zoo after a major renovation under Moreno’s mayorship, had a soft opening on December 30, 2021. It is yet to fully open but Moreno said some areas in the zoo are finished and there are already some animals in their new enclosures.
Moreno implemented other measures to ramp up vaccination rates, like putting up 24/7 drive-thru vaccination sites and doing targeted vaccination drives among vendors, delivery personnel, and public utility vehicle drivers.
He’s opened Manila’s stock of COVID-19 medicines and free testing facilities to non-Manila residents. Moreno is seeking the presidency in this year’s elections. – Rappler.com