MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City local government ordered workers in the city's vaccination sites to show the syringes to recipients before and after the vaccination to prevent instances of botched vaccinations.
“To erase any doubt and for their peace of mind, we already instructed our vaccinators to show the syringe to the recipients before and after the inoculation,” Quezon City Health Department head Dr. Esperanza Arias said in a statement sent to reporters Monday afternoon.
This comes after a viral video showed a health worker allegedly from Makati City injecting a vaccine recipient with a syringe without pressing the plunger, which meant the contents of the syringe were not injected.
Arias assured residents that all vaccination sites, even those operated by volunteer health workers, are supervised by senior City Health Department staff, and health workers work in shifts to avoid exhaustion.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte also assured residents that botched vaccinations similar to those caught on video in recent weeks will not occur in Quezon City's vaccination sites as the local government has put in place several measures to prevent this.
“We guarantee that the said unfortunate incident or anything similar won’t happen in our city," Belmonte also said in the statement.
The mayor issued the statement after residents called the City Health Department to express concern about whether they had really received their vaccine shots.
According to Belmonte, the video "caused panic among many residents [and] also created uncertainty among other residents to have themselves vaccinated against the coronavirus."
Per data from the QC Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit, 1,449 active cases remain out of the total 102,566 infections documented in the city.
While the local chief executive asserted were no reported cases of the sort among the more than 880,000 administered shots in the city, she encouraged residents to take videos of their vaccination to ensure that they receive the vaccine properly.
"It would be better for us to videotape the vaccination process to make sure that we have been vaccinated," she said in Filipino.
Many other videos of similar cases have circulated in the aftermath of the first incident in Makati City.
Belmonte later Monday also reminded residents to avail of the city government's free COVID-19 swab test service after she learned that several pregnant women gave birth in tricycles and other unsuitable environments due to the absence of swab tests, which is a required protocol of hospitals prior to admission.
“I remind all QCitizens, especially those with scheduled procedures in hospitals or those about to give birth that there is a free swab test for our residents”, Belmonte said.
"We make the testing free so as not to increase the cost of our compatriots who need to be hospitalized", she added.
In a statement on June 28, the DOH called the first incident a “breach in the vaccination protocol.”
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., though, urged the public to verify the incident first, pointing out that there may be those who wanted "to stir up a controversy against our ongoing national vaccination program."
Makati Mayor Abby Binay attributed the incident to fatigue and promised it will not happen again.
“It was human error on the part of the nurse that was immediately corrected… We simply ask for understanding from the public. Our frontliners have been working for over a year to fight this pandemic,” Binay said.
To date, 1.43 million coronavirus infections have been recorded in the Philippines, 52,708 of whom are still classified as active cases.