The local governments of Antipolo and Las Piñas have suspended walk-ins for COVID-19 shots after thousands flocked to vaccination sites on August 5 in the hopes of getting inoculated before the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
In Las Piñas, residents were lining up as early as 2 a.m. at SM Southmall despite the local government's curfew hour prohibition. Most of those in the queue were walk-ins who feared that they won't be able to go to work, go outside, or receive financial assistance or "ayuda" without the jab.
Aside from SM Southmall, lines for vaccination were seen at Robinsons Place Las Piñas and Las Piñas Doctors Hospital.
City spokesperson Paul San Miguel assured residents that the claims of "no vaccine, no ayuda" are not true.
"Magpapatuloy po ang bakunahan sa lungsod kahit tayo ay nasa ilalim ng Enhanced Community Quarantine. Ngunit ang mga tatanggapin lamang po sa mga vaccination sites ay yung mga residenteng may PATIENT ID NUMBER at QR Code upang maiwasan ang dami ng buhos ng tao sa mga vaccination sites," the Las Piñas City government posted on Facebook.
Meanwhile, people in Antipolo also crowded SM City Masinag for COVID-19 shots. Mayor Andeng Ynares has also announced that vaccination sites will no longer accept walk-ins. "Dahil sa ipinakitang pag-uugali ng ilang mga tao sa vaccination sites kanina, matatapos ang ilang buwang maayos na walk-in policy para sa mga kabilang sa priority list ng DOH ay ititigil na po ito."
She recommended Antipolo residents to register online instead.
In Manila, the city government has suspended the vaccination program at SM San Lazaro due to public safety concerns as crowds reached 7,000 to 10,000 according to the Manila Public Information Office (PIO).
Individuals camped out overnight at other mall vaccination sites, which have announced that they could no longer accommodate walk-ins as early as 3 a.m. earlier today. Normally, these vaccination sites can accommodate 1,000 to 2,000 individuals scheduled for jabs, but crowds reached over 3,000 in Lucky Chinatown, over 4,000 in Robinsons Manila, and over 5,000 in SM Manila.
According to the PIO, people amassed at mall sites after hearing that non-vaccinated individuals will not be allowed to go out of their homes during the ECQ.
"Wala pa po tayong mga anunsyo pagdating doon sa mga pagbabawal sa paglabas ng mga hindi bakunado. Kinakailangan muna ma-achieve natin ang population protection," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in the televised palace press briefing today, August 5.
“Wala ring katotohanan na i-rerequire natin ang bakuna para sa ayuda. Lahat po ng nangangailangan mabibigyan ng ayuda. Hindi po kayo hahanapan ng proof of vaccination," he assured.