MANILA, Philippines — More COVID-19 vaccines will be allocated to towns affected by Taal Volcano’s unrest to give additional protection to residents who fled their homes, the Department of Health said Monday.
Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes after Taal Volcano in Batangas ejected steam and magma last week.
“The allocation of vaccines will be increased. We are hoping that by vaccinating individuals and also monitoring them through antigen kits and symptomatic monitoring, we’ll be able to prevent further infections in evacuation centers,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a briefing.
Dr. Voltaire Guadalupe, who heads Calabarzon’s health disaster risk reduction and management, said those who are eligible for vaccination will be inoculated.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, the public information office of Batangas province said five local governments in Metro Manila donated COVID-19 vaccine doses. These were the cities of Taguig, Quezon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, and Manila.
The government also distributed antigen test kits to evacuation centers.
“The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has provided more than enough test kits for the current evacuees,” Guadalupe said.
Some 3,430 individuals, or 925 families, were being housed in 95 evacuation centers in Batangas and Laguna, he said.
Vergeire urged local authorities to place families in separate tents or rooms, if possible, and set up sanitation areas where people can wash their hands. The health official also reminded evacuees to wear face masks at all times.
State volcanologists raised Alert Level 3 over Taal Volcano after a short-lived phreatomagmatic eruption occurred on June 29. Phivolcs said “magma extruding from the main crater could drive explosive eruption.”