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FAST FACTS: Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian breaks down the city’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Apr 27, 2021 7:58 pm Updated Apr 27, 2021 8:28 pm

From a contact tracing app that has evolved to a vaccine registration platform— this was just one of the innovations done by the local government unit in Valenzuela City, where citizens are afforded the right to be "choosy."

During PhilSTAR L!fe’s Let’s Talk COVID-19 livestream, Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon "Rex" Gatchalian shared updates on the city’s progress when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination and overall response.

ValTrace app as vaccine registration

Since its inception in October of 2020, Valenzuela’s official tracking app ValTrace has generated over 1.2 million QR codes, exceeding the city’s population of around 680,000. With that in mind, the city decided to add a vaccine registration option to the app.

“Na-realize namin, this becomes a very good starting point para sa bakuna,” Gatchalian shared.

“Nung January, hinikayat namin yung mga mamamayan na bumalik dun sa mga profile nila at magparehistro na para sa bakuna. As we speak right now, may mga around 35,000 to 38,000 na nag-register na for vaccines using their same QR code and profile.”

At present, any Valenzuela resident with a ValTrace QR Code can register regardless of their priority group. The app will then arrange the registrations in order of priority and give notifications on the vaccination schedule. Citizens also choose their own vaccination sites in-app.

“Right now, nakakakuha parin [ang citizens] ng appointment letter. Per block hour, we [vaccinate] as much as 40 individuals.”

House-to-house vaccine appointment letter

Once your priority group is set for a vaccine schedule, Gatchalian explained that an appointment letter will be given house-to-house to hand over to the designated vaccine site.

“At the same time, if hindi naman mahanap yung bahay, tatawag kami o nag-te-text kami. Mabilis yun, continuous yun, hindi napuputol.”

He shared that the A1 group (medical frontliners, healthcare professionals) scheduled for January to March have mostly received their first doses, while the A2 and A3 group (senior citizens, those with comorbidities) are already set to receive their appointment letters.

Gatchalian said that the city has given the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines to at least 800 individuals.

“Puwedeng choosy”

The city was given two vaccines by the national government: AstraZeneca and SinoVac. Even with the AstraZeneca vaccine in short supply, Gatchalian said that people can still be “choosy” when it’s their time to get the vaccine, regardless of their priority group.

“Puwede bang choosy? Yes, you can tell your local government when you get your appointment letter.”

“So ang mangyayari pag dumating ang next supply ng bakuna, we’ll start from the top of the list again and look for those priority groups.”

“You’ll really have to settle for what’s there, pero kung hindi ka ready hintayin mo yung binili ng local government unit that will come in the middle of the year - July to December. Panay AstraZeneca yun and we bought some Moderna as well.”

640,000 AstraZeneca vaccines by the second half of the year

Aside from the vaccines given by the national government, the city has also ordered 640,000 doses of their own AstraZeneca vaccines. The procurement cost P150 million from the city’s Disaster Preparedness Fund.

Though they will be prioritizing residents, Gatchalian shared that non-residents working in Valenzuela could also inquire about the vaccination soon.

“Dun sa A1, ang instruction samin ay dapat kasama [sa vaccination]. Now dun sa succeeding A2 and A3, ang instruction sa amin, yung residents muna. Pero ako naniniwala ako na pagdating na ang bakuna ng lokal na pamahalaan, that’ll be more than enough for a lot of people. Later on, yung mga no-residente namin mabibigyan din.”

Watch the full interview with Mayor Rex Gatchalian here