Designating a drive-thru or mega vaccination site for Mega Manila’s parcel and food couriers could help speed up the utilization of 5.1 million vaccines facing expiry, Senator Joel Villanueva said.

This massive riding community has “the wheels and the apps that could vaccinate thousands of these essential workers in a day,” noted Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee.

“The booking system through which people order food or send goods can be used by the couriers this time to register for and schedule their vaccine shots,” the veteran legislator explained.

“Delivery riders deserve to be rewarded and protected.”

The seasoned lawmaker added that delivery riders deserve to be “rewarded and protected for unselfishly serving as the lifeline to the outside world by people locked down in their homes and communities”.

“And because they are in contact with many people every day, then all the more from a health perspective that these frontliners be vaccinated soon,” the senator stressed.

He bared that the vaccination of occupational groups by the private sector, such as the one proposed for delivery workers, is allowed under the newly-signed COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act.

Such delegation, Villanueva continued, has been successfully piloted by local governments in Metro Manila, who partnered with private villages to set up vaccination sites with health personnel drawn from homeowners.

He further suggested that the government encourage delivery companies to band together and form a consortium, “as a kind of a sectoral vaccination program that they themselves will help run”.

“Mungkahi po natin sa IATF na pag-aralan ang pagtatakda ng isang go-to na vaccination site para sa ating mga delivery riders, para makasigurong mababakunahan sila ng maayos,” Villanueva said.

“Because delivery companies have a directory of riders, then there is already an existing verified registry.”

Because delivery companies have a directory of riders, then there is already an existing verified registry, he noted.

“Kilala na kung sino ang maaaring tumanggap ng bakuna,” Villanueva added.

He also said the “courier republic” can tremendously help the government speed up use of vaccines that have short storage life.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said the 5,155,957 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country’s inventory as of May 13 must be dispensed immediately.

“But if our highest so far is 83,000 jabs a day, the one recorded for May 13, and say we increase that to 100,000 a day, it will still take us almost two months to consume this stock. And more are coming,” Villanueva asserted.

He estimated that opening a green lane for couriers will accelerate vaccine use and prevent backlogs that could lead to vaccine spoilage.

“Kung matapos agad ang mga delivery riders, baka pwede pong isunod na rin ang ibang mga essential workers,” Villanueva said.

“Delivery riders came to our rescue during the enhanced community quarantine. Now they can help in saving precious vaccines from getting ruined,” he concluded.

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