PNP deploys medical force to prevent overcrowding in vax sites

PNP deploys medical force to prevent overcrowding in vax sites

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday announced that it has deployed members of its Medical Reserve Force (MRF) to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination centers to prevent long lines and overcrowding.

In a statement, PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said MRF members were assigned at the San Francisco High School, Project 6 Elementary School, and the Masambong Elementary School in Quezon City, which are all being utilized as vaccination centers.

Gusto nating iwasan na maging super spreader events ang pagaantay natin na tayo’y mabakunahan. Imbes na proteksyon eh baka virus pa ang makuha natin. Kaya minabuti po naming mag-deploy ng aming Medical Reserve Force para makatulong sa mga nangangasiwa sa ating vaccination sites (We want to avoid superspreader events while people are waiting for their turn to be vaccinated. We might even get infected with the virus instead of getting protection. This is why we opted to deploy our Medical Reserve Force to assist those in charge at the vaccination sites),” he said.

This came after an incident in Parañaque City where some residents flocked to a mall in an attempt to get inoculated even if they are not scheduled yet for vaccination, leading to the absence of safe physical distancing.

The MRF, formed at the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic last year, is composed of police officers who are graduates of medicine and health-related courses.

MRF members have served in police-operated quarantine facilities such as the Ultra Stadium in Pasig City and the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Aside from ensuring compliance with health protocols, Eleazar said MRF members can also help in administering vaccines in these sites.

“We will continue to coordinate and assess the situation with the Department of Health and our LGUs (local government units) kung saan pa iyong mga vaccination centers na nangangailangan ng tulong (to determine vaccination centers that would need help),” he added.

Eleazar said members of the MRF undergo a refresher course on the administration of the vaccines.

Meanwhile, Eleazar said he has already ordered all regional and provincial directors to coordinate with the Department of Health (DOH) in identifying police camps that could be used as vaccination sites as the national government prepares for the inoculation of essential workers and indigent Filipinos.

He also tasked these officials to prepare this early for the possible use of police camps in the government’s vaccination plan in anticipation of all the possible untoward incidents that may happen.

Earlier, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. announced that police and military camps would be used as vaccination sites for the A4 priority sector as more Covid-19 vaccine shipments arrive in the country.

The inoculation for the A4 category in the vaccine priority list, which includes security forces, firefighters, customs personnel, and immigration officers may take place on the last week of May.

Eleazar said police camps would make good vaccination sites because of their wide and open spaces. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)

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