Bacolod City, Negros Occidental—The city of Bacolod recorded yesterday, July 26, the highest number of vaccination against COVID-19, but long queues in mega vaccination centers turned it into a breeding ground for the virus.
City Administrator Em Ang, who also chairs the Emergency Operations Center, said in an interview at SMX yesterday that huge crowds from outside the mall failed to cooperate despite reminders from police officers who were deployed to manage crowd control and the observance of strict health protocols.
Even the mall security officers feared for a possible stampede according to Ang if they immediately open the entrances because the line was just too long and the public wouldn’t listen to their pleadings. At least 8 police officers were deployed to put an order.
Ang described the uncontrolled incident as a possible breeding ground for the virus. Photos circulating online showed people who were elbow-to-elbow, a clear violation of the social distancing rule. Some were also seen not wearing a faceshield or facemask.
This forced the EOC according to Mayor Evelio Leonardia to revert to their no walk-in policy. Huge crowds were seen trooping to 3 mega vaccination sites last week after the local government offered the single shot of Johnson & Johnson.
In their emergency meeting last night, Leonardia said that only registered and pre-arranged vaccines will be accommodated. It was last Monday when the city information office announced on Facebook the vaccination sites in malls were accept walk-ins under A1-A3.
With over 12,000 jabs administered yesterday, the mayor said this is heartening as this shows that more, and more are now willing to be inoculated. However, he appealed for the understanding of all concerned as the city continue to exert all efforts to vaccinate as many as possible as the vaccines come.