Reaching every Rotarian and Child for their Vaccinations in this Pandemic

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PP Eric Tayag
RI D3810 Committee on COVID-19 Awareness and Prevention

The Time is Now

Ideas for change are awakened from hibernation at the right time, particularly in this COVID-19 pandemic. Last July, the Rotary Leadership Institute held its initial offering in virtual space on Training of Trainers. One breakout activity in my group was to showcase a Rotary project that can be implemented in this Rotary Year while at the same time demonstrating facilitation skills. The Project was “Bakuna Van”, a mobile vaccination campaign to support the Department of Health’s Childhood Immunization Program in this Pandemic. Rotary’s involvement in this project also included Free COVID-19 vaccination for Rotarians of RI District 3810.

What happened next was unexpected. Who would have thought that a virtual classroom demonstration of communication skills will become one of the flagship projects in the Rotary district? This was how it happened.

District Governor Robert Koa created the Committee on COVID-19 Awareness and Prevention with PP Eric Tayag of the Rotary Club of Manila 101 as its chairperson. The Vice Chairpersons were PP Len Francisco (RC Tondo for Manila Area), PP Ma. Lowella Sibunga (RC Pasay Silangan for Pasay Area), PP Arnold Zenarosa ( RC Rosario for Cavite Area) and PP Jerry Rosete (RC San Jose for Mindoro Area). Virtual meetings were held to finalize plans on noteworthy projects can support the government’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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The Plan

The continuing collaboration of the Department of Health and Rotary International was forged over thirty years ago when the ambitious undertaking of eradicating polio had its auspicious start in Makati. To this day that bond gets only stronger even in the midst of a pandemic.

Why not have Rotarians get protected against COVID-19? And at the same time provide the DOH the support to have children get vaccinated as they have missed their vaccine doses because of the lockdowns. Thus, this slogan: “Bawa’t Rotarian Protektado, Bawa’t Bata Bakunado”. Besides the DOH and Rotary, this project also involved the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, Inc.

The idea to support the government in battling the pandemic was a clarion call from PRID Guiller Tumangan so that all 10 districts will be united and use their resources for this effort. DG Robert Koa had other plans. “Why not have our District carry the fight ourselves since we have a COVID Committee that can bring very good results?” DG Koa mused. Inspired by this, Chairperson Eric Tayag quickly drew out a plan with timely assistance from SDG Jouie Gabat and Chief of Staff Vilma Vinluan, who later would become the Co-Chairperson for this flagship project.

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The Result

Initially, the COVID-19 Vaccination for Rotarians was slated at the DOH Vaccine Center at the DOH Compound in Manila. The Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) finally provided the venue for the first run of the COVID-19 vaccination. On October 9, 43 got their Moderna doses. The Vaccination team was provided by DOH and the Quezon City government. Lung Center Executive Director Dr. Vincent Balanag Jr. was there to see everything. Likewise, the core Vaccumittee was there with DG Koa and our Motivated Life Changing Presidents. Despite the small number of Vaccinees, the preparation brought good results such as Zero Vaccine wastage and Zero anaphylaxis.

The second run was again held at the LCP last November 6. This time, 44 got their second dose of Moderna and 112 with their first dose of Pfizer vaccine. Of the 112 who got Pfizer, 49 were 12 years old to 17 years old. The roll out for the country’s vaccination of rest of the pediatric population (aged 12 years to 17 years) was started only the day before! AG Bogs Rivera worked hard so that online registration was done as efficiently as possible.

This campaign was done in a blitzkrieg fashion. There is really no reason why Rotarians cannot succeed. After all this is Life Changing and Service above Self.

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