COVID-19 Crisis: Long lines and a lot of people during the Pfizer vaccine launch in Parañaque City

Let me ask you my readers based in Parañaque City – did you witness the launch of the Pfizer vaccine at a certain shopping mall in the city this past Monday (May 17)?

During that day, I spotted a lot of pictures and videos posted by Internet users on Facebook related to the Parañaque rollout of the Pfizer vaccine (note: Israel itself used vaccines of Pfizer). Those images showed very long lines of people trying to enter that shopping mall and many of the comments posted by users mentioned very long waiting times, confusion and frustration.

For starters, watch this related news video from GMA Network.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from yesterday’s Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in bold…

Parañaque City residents flocked a mall in the city on Monday (May 17), in hopes of getting vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, but many left the place disappointed and criticized the handling that they experienced.

A resident who requested anonymity, reached out to the Manila Bulletin and mentioned how the rollout became a “super-spreader” event mainly due to the reason that there was only one venue for the Pfizer vaccine rollout which was the mall, concentrating all residents in a single place.

So the whole of Parañaque in A1 – A3 classifications came by because many didn’t get confirmation texts,” she said.

The resident mentioned that the city initially said in a post on the Facebook page of the Public Information Office on Sunday afternoon that “interested fellows” may come.

By Sunday night, it was changed to those who have confirmed schedule. But what is a confirmed schedule? When people just get an email or text confirming a Patient ID,” she said.

“Also in the Sputnik rollout, walk-ins were allowed so naturally now people know that is possible so a lot came by,” she added.

It can be remembered that many residents were also eager to get inoculated during the pilot vaccination of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in Parañaque City on May 4, and a lot of them were left fuming after they spent hours waiting without even getting the jab.

Meanwhile, the resident also claimed that the way the seniors were treated, they were just standing on snake lines spanning the whole transport terminal from morning until afternoon in the “sweltering heat”.

The resident, who belonged to the A3 category or persons with comorbidities, arrived at the mall at 7:40 a.m. with her husband who recovered from COVID-19. She said that marshals in the area also did not know how to respond and were sending people back in line which by 8:30 a.m. was already 2,000, according to her.

Mayor Edwin Olivarez said in a report on 24 Oras that many walk-ins or those who did not receive a text confirmation for their schedule of vaccination arrived. He said that they were advised that there will be a specific time for them to come.

To be clear, this is not the first time that Parañaque residents joined the long line and got frustrated. In relation to the above report, the Manila Bulletin also published another report while the Pfizer rollout went on. This one includes summarized feedback from the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19. Check out the excerpt below…

What was supposed to be a momentous event turned out to be chaotic as the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine at a mall in Paranaque City on Monday, May 17, was heavily criticized for the poor handling of the vaccinees, resulting to violation of minimum health standards such as the observance of social distancing.

The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 expressed concern over the “obvious lack of social distancing” by the vaccinees during the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine at a mall along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard corner Aseana Avenue.

Prior to the rollout, the Paranaque City government announced that the event was “strictly intended for scheduled patients with secured slots” but photos and videos posted by netizens on social media showed that scores of people showed up at the venue and social distancing was no longer observed.

A netizen, Chinggay Kanapi, who posted photos of the vaccination event, described the incident as a “super spreader event” as she claimed that “thousands and thousands of people [were] milling around with no information where to fall in line.”

Kanapi told the Manila Bulletin that she initially waited at the parking lot of the mall where the vaccinees would have to enter before being allowed to get the vaccine but she was surprised to see that physical distancing was not observed.

“After so many hours waiting in that awful parking lot, my driver came up to me and said that there was an easier way. We passed thru McDo and entered the mall without being stopped. Then it was a breeze going thru the process in the vaccine area! I pity the ones outside who didn’t figure it out like my driver,” Kanapi said.

Long lines, uncomfortable conditions, alleged lack of care and precision, walk-ins happening, registered residents waiting longer than expected…these are unfortunate events that seem to be repeating in Parañaque, at least in the shopping mall that had the respective local launch events of Sputnik V and Pfizer vaccines.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the launch of Pfizer vaccines in Parañaque? Do you believe the allegations are true? If you were among the many people who endured the long wait during the Sputnik V launch or during the Pfizer launch in Parañaque, how uncomfortable was the entire experience to you?

What do you think that the City Government of Parañaque should immediately do to make sure its citizens get vaccinated with the convenience and comfort in mind?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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