DOH assures vaccination centers ready for natural disasters

Vaccinate center in Baguio

VITAL SHOT Teams of doctors and health workers in Baguio City simulate the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines through an exercise on Monday at the University of Baguio gymnasium, one of the
biggest vaccination sites identified for 190,000 residents eligible to receive the shots in the summer capital. —EV ESPIRITU

MANILA, Philippines — In preparation for natural disasters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health (DOH) assured on Tuesday that appropriate measures are in place to secure disaster preparedness in vaccination sites.

Ronald Law, OIC-Director of the DOH Health Emergency Management Bureau, said that earthquakes, for instance, are among the scenarios considered when the vaccination centers were put up.


“When we say natural [disasters], kasama doon lagi ‘yung earthquake (earthquakes are always included). Like what I said, we’ve been monitoring pretty much high magnitude earthquakes. When they do their planning, they (LGUs) must be mindful of the common hazards that affect their place,” Law told an online media forum.

“For one, earthquakes can also cause power outages. That can also compromise our cold chain. Earthquakes can lead to a secondary hazard… [like] a fire,” he added.

Law said the DOH has issued a checklist of safety requirements that vaccination centers should meet, including the accessibility of its location and sound structure that can withstand possible calamities.

Law also said that plans of local government units for response efforts to possible hazards that may affect vaccination centers should be subjected to tabletop drills.

“Idi-drill dapat ‘yung mga ganitong klaseng plan and we also want to see this at the regional level. So ang target talaga namin ngayon ay ‘yung mga regional VOCs (Vaccine Operations Center),” he said.

(These kinds of plans should be subjected to drills and we also want to see this at the regional level. So our target really is for regional VOCs.)

Law also highlighted the need for the sharing of resources and contingency measures for evacuating people and important equipment in cases of disasters. Faith Yuen Wei Ragasa, trainee


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