The Manila city government discarded its new policy refusing walk-in COVID-19 vaccine applicants on the same day it was introduced on Monday, June 21, following a low immunization turnout.
The city’s “no walk-in” policy was implemented for most of Monday, but only 4,402 people showed up out of the 28,000 individuals to whom the local government supposedly sent text message, inviting them to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Disappointed with the turnout, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno headed to the vaccination site in Robinsons Place Manila at around 4:30 pm Monday, announcing that walk-in clients would be accommodated immediately.
“Hindi talaga ako naniniwala sa scheduling system. Hindi ako naniniwala sa ‘no walk-in’ policy, kasi vaccines should be made available to anybody,” he said
(I really don’t believe in the scheduling system. I don’t believe in a ‘no walk-in policy,’ because vaccines should be made available to anybody.)
In a virtual briefing Monday night, Moreno said the city would return to the original system on Tuesday, June 22.
“Balik tayo sa open policy,” he announced. (We’re back to the open policy.)
On June 14, the city government’s vaccination program made headlines after thousands of individuals grappled with long lines outside malls even before sunrise, in hopes of getting vaccination slots.
The lack of a fixed scheduling system online for COVID-19 vaccination means anyone willing to receive the jab has to take chances at inoculation sites and face uncertainty over the city’s “first come, first served” system.
The 28,000 individuals to whom text messages were sent for Monday’s vaccination were not booked for specific time slots. They were only notified that they could get vaccinated that day, and were provided a link to the list of sites they could visit.
Without being assigned to specific time windows, vaccination candidates may have been discouraged by the thought of having to wait in crowded areas for hours.
Two hours after Moreno junked the “no walk-in” policy on Monday afternoon, vaccinations in the city soared to 11,749 as of 6:30 pm.
Most local government units in Metro Manila enforce a fixed time scheduling system for COVID-19 vaccinations, and highly discourage walk-in clients to avoid overcrowding.
As of June 20, 2.1 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, out of 6.2 million individuals who have received their first dose.
In Manila, over half a million people were administered with their first COVID-19 vaccine dose as of June 21. — Rappler.com