In Aklan’s fight against COVID-19, one group surprisingly became a breath of fresh air and helped lighten the heavy duties of the province’s frontliners assigned to conduct vaccination activities at the ABL Sports Complex, the initial vaccination site that started operating in March this year.
This group is composed of Provincial Capitol Employees, be they permanent ones or job orders, who heeded the call of the Provincial Government through the Provincial Human Resource Management Office (PHRMO), to serve as volunteers in the provincial vaccination site.
PHRMO head Methuselah Santamaria said the deployment of volunteers in the vaccination site was in response to a letter sent by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) seeking assistance in receiving scheduled or walk-in Aklanons wishing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
At the start of the vaccination activities in Aklan particularly at the ABL Sports Complex, all the frontliners from the registration, education and vaccination areas were from the PHO, the Dr, Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH) and from government offices like the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army (PA) who have nursing or medical education background.
They do the checking and listing of the vaccinees and the vaccination proper as well as monitoring for side effects. Thus, the first set-up was quite exhausting to the frontliners.
When the volunteers came into the picture, the work of the frontliners became lighter. It was still the nurses who were inoculating the scheduled/walk-in Aklanons, but the other duties, like registering or listing the names and other information of the vaccinees are already done by the volunteers.
A list provided by the PHRMO showed that Capitol employees who enlisted as volunteers came from department offices like the Aklan Environment and Natural Resources Office (AKENRO); Aklan Provincial Population and Gender Office (AKPPGO).
Other departments that sent volunteers were Economic Enterprise Development Department (EEDD); Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA); Provincial Assessor’s Office (PASSO); Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO); Provincial Governor’s Office-Public Employment Office (PGO-PESO);Provincial General Services Office (PGSO); Provincial Human Resource Management Office (PHRMO); Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPVET); Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO); Provincial Treasurer’s Office (PTO); Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP); and Aklan Provincial Tourism Offce (APTO).
One such Capitol employee who happily serves as a volunteer is Rowena Abueg of the AKPPGO.
As a volunteer, she is in charge during her duty of listing the names of scheduled and walk-in vaccinees.
“Kon amat hay may gustong magpabakuna nga mga halin sa trabaho, pareho ku mga construction workers. Ro iba kanda hay haeos indi makabasa ukon makasueat sa mga pormas nga dapat i fill-up. Hambae ko kanda hay ako lang ro masueat agud madali sanda hibakunahan” (sometimes there are those who want to be vaccinated coming straight from work, like construction workers. Some of them could hardly read or write. I tell them that I would take care of writing their details, so they could be vaccinated in a short while), Abueg said.
On the other hand, Mish Ayah Sibullas, 15 years old, who got herself vaccinated under the pediatric group, said she felt comfortable in answering the volunteer who entertained her and took her details when she came at the ABL Sports Complex to be vaccinated.
Being a teenager, Mish Ayah said she was a bit apprehensive in having herself vaccinated against COVID-19, but the volunteer who took her details was friendly and encouraging, so when it was her turn to be injected, she was not afraid anymore.
Currently, vaccination sites operated by the provincial government have increased, with one located at the Aklan Catholic College (ACC) and another set up at City Mall Kalibo.
This additional vaccination sites are seen to help reach the province’s targeted 70% herd immunity, and the presence of the province’s selfless, amiable volunteers will help a lot in realizing this goal. (AAL/VGV/PIA6 Aklan)