Vax on the rush

Pasig's vaccination card you'll be proud to show off.

On the day my wife and kids and others in our compound are getting their 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Caloocan, I finally also got mine in Pasig. It’s only my first jab and had to sign up in the city where my work is located because I just couldn’t miss work and probably won’t last if I line up at 4:00 am and spend more than 8 hours waiting in too long a queue. Because that’s what my family had to endure, and many others in our barangay and perhaps in other cities as well, just to get vaccinated. Everyone seems to be rushing to get vaccinated now because of news that vaccines are scarce and running out of supply. And that some establishments are now requiring proof of vaccination before you’re allowed entry.

It was late June when my wife decided to push everyone in our house, including my senior mother-in-law who initially was against it, to get vaccinated. At the time, vaccination sites in Caloocan City were already accepting various priority groups, weirdly except A4 which are frontline personnel in essential sectors where I fall under. So I couldn’t join them aside from me having regular work.

Because there’s no appointment system and it’s a first-come, first-serve process, people queued as early as 12:00 midnight or even by 10:00 pm the night before. Good thing there’s a nearby site on a mall that’s walking distance from our house. My family went to the said site for their first dose past 5:00 am but there’s already a long line forming at the parking lot. My wife said it was really disorganized and you’re on your own since nobody’s taking charge and the organizers will be at the site by around 9:00 am. The line started moving by 10:00 am, my mother-in-law got in first and was done by lunch time, but the rest of them were done by around 3:00 pm. So on average, it’s going to take you 8 to 10 hours or more to get your first dose of vaccine. Thankfully lesser for the second dose. So if you’re working, you may have to take a leave of absence because you’ll probably need the whole day off.

It would’ve been problematic if I was the one left unvaccinated when I’m actually the one frequently outside of the house on weekdays for work. It took the help of a colleague at work to get my name on the list of Pasig’s vaccination program, after failing to get any feedback from signing up online at Caloocan and other locations. An officemate who’s leaving soon for overseas work, went as far as Alabang to get her preferred vaccine from Pfizer, because you can get both doses within a month. And I know a lot of friends who’s working on-premise who are still unable to get vaccinated simply because it’s hard to get a schedule.

It was a totally different experience for me when I got my first dose. I got notified by SMS the night before my schedule and I was able to go to work in the morning because my appointment is 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. And when I went to Pasig City General Hospital, the guard only asked to see the text and then asked me to fill up a consent form marked with a number, there’s actually no line, you can sit anywhere and wait for your number to be called. And as soon as you’re inside the actual vaccination area, it’s like everyone in the staff is in turbo mode! You will only need to show your Pasig QR code and a valid ID and everything else is fast and in order. In fact it was too fast I wasn’t able to get a photo or video and I was done in less than 30 minutes! It wasn’t as stressful and tiring as what my family in Caloocan had to go through.

At dinner, my kids were talking about how to hide or cover the Caloocan mayor’s face in the vaccination card. That’s another huge difference in Pasig and in some other progressive cities, as you can see in the photo above, there’s no logo or photo of the mayor on the card. Just a computerized card that certifies you got great public service, one you will proudly flex when asked if you’ve been vaccinated.

It’s nice to know that some businesses are encouraging the public to get vaccinated by offering discounts or freebies just by showing your vaccination card. But more than anything else, I hope more people get vaccinated without too much hassle and really fast so we can finally have herd immunity and slowly get back to a better normal.

We all know that the vaccines the public are getting for free were mostly donated courtesy of Covax and the World Health Organization. We deserve the same superior level of public service such as in Pasig, regardless of where you live, and whichever priority group you’re in.

If you haven’t had your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, there’s no better timing than now or asap. If your LGU makes it difficult for you, a lot of other cities are actually open to accepting residents especially the workforce sector within their territories.

Vax on the rush please!

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