Cebu transport terminals eyed as vax sites for drivers, riding public

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TRANSPORT terminals in Metro Cebu are now being eyed as additional vaccination sites to ramp up vaccination efforts.

This developed following a meeting organized by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav), Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Visayas, Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas, and the Project Balik Buhay, according to Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH Central Visayas chief pathologist and spokesperson for the Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Central Visayas and the Land Transportation Office (LTO), together with transport groups and operators also joined the meeting on January 17, 2022, which discussed ways of moving forward in ensuring the safety of the transport groups and passengers, Dr. Loreche said.

It was then agreed that vaccination sites in select and strategic terminals be set up to make vaccination more accessible to drivers, their assistants, the riding public, and their families as well, she added.

“For logistics and staffing (of the additional sites), we can plan this out with the LGUs (local government units) where the terminals are located. No identified sites yet, but we can request the transport group to identify,” Dr. Loreche said.

Two terminals

LTFRB Central Visayas Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said two possible sites are the Cebu South Bus Terminal along Natalio Bacalso Ave. in Cebu City, and the old North Bus Terminal in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

Montealto explained that this plan has to be coordinated with and approved by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia since the two terminals are under the management of the provincial government.

He also disclosed that both the South Bus and North Bus terminals have sustained damages due to Typhoon Odette (Rai) so the vaccination may have to be done inside the buses.

The management of Ceres Bus has already agreed to have vaccinations conducted inside their buses, Montealto said, adding that he expects other bus companies to also allow vaccinations inside their buses. Ceres buses account for 70 percent of buses plying Cebu routes.

LTO facility

LTO Central Visayas Director Victor Emmanuel Caindec also offered the use of the LTO facility, particularly the Malasakit Licensing Office along Natalio Bacalso Ave. as an additional vaccination site for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program drivers.

The move of Opav, IATF Visayas and the DOH Central Visayas to set up vaccination sites at transport terminals aims to increase the accessibility of jabs to the most number of people. Currently, vaccination sites are located inside shopping malls, schools, and gymnasiums.

Based on the Vaccine Operation Reporting System as of January 24, 2022, a total of 5,035,560 vaccine doses had already been administered in the entire Cebu.

Of this number, 2,676,843 are first doses; 2,258,831 second doses, and 99,886 booster doses.

Nine Metro Cebu LGUs—Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Talisay City, Naga City, Consolacion, Minglanilla, Liloan and Cordova—have collectively achieved a combined first dose vaccine coverage rate (VCR) of 77.70 percent or 1,891,000 residents and a second dose VCR of 66.31 percent or 1,613,000 residents.

While vaccinated individuals could still get infected or become breakthrough cases, they only experience mild symptoms and are less likely to be brought to hospitals.

Home isolation is now being encouraged for those who have mild Covid-19 symptoms but they still have to inform the barangay and the emergency operations center so they could be monitored and given guidance on proper treatment and isolation protocols. (PR)

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