Cabaero: Tech challenge in vaccine sign-up

Nini Cabaero
·2 min read

Things are finally starting to move in the vaccine program in Cebu City to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infection cases.

Two barangays in Cebu City started their vaccination program on Monday, April 19, 2021. Senior citizens of Barangays Mambaling and Mabolo became the first to be vaccinated against the Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. They will be followed by individuals 60 and older in Barangays Talamban and Banilad on Tuesday, April 20.

They were among those who signed up through a registration form on of the Cebu City Government or during house-to-house campaigns.

City Hall will announce the schedule for the next barangays.

The latest count is at almost 15,000 senior citizens in Cebu City who have registered for the vaccine. Cebu City has 82,000 senior citizens who are eligible except some have taken a wait-and-see attitude until better vaccines with fewer risks will be developed. Others have decided not to get vaccinated for fear they will have blood clots or die from complications.

Other than those deciding to wait or avoiding the vaccine, there are senior citizens who might be willing to get vaccinated but have no way of signing up in the City Government form. They do not have computers or internet connection, or they find it daunting to fill up the form.

This is the technology challenge in the vaccine rollout program that is not being adequately addressed. Telecommunications companies are doing their part to ensure interconnectivity in vaccination centers. But not all senior citizens have the means to connect and register from their homes.

This problem will become steadily more pronounced when those next in line in the prioritization program for the vaccine moves to the categories of the indigent and the general public.

A house-to-house registration campaign is an option but it will take several months for City Hall to reach the 700,000 or 70 percent of the one million population to achieve community immunity.

A movement is needed, similar to the one started at the Maginhawa community pantry in Quezon City, to help Cebu City residents who want to sign up for the vaccine. Instead of donating food items for a community, computer groups and schools in Cebu City and individuals could offer their time and services to set up a phone line or a chat line via Messenger or Viber to type in a person’s details to register.

Those technically challenged could contact the hotline and provide the information required in the vaccine registration process. The City Hall form asks for the name, birthdate, category where the person belongs — whether senior citizen or indigent and identification card number. All information could be relayed to the person who would encode the details.

This will address the technology challenges in the vaccine sign-up process.