PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso is planning to use the newly-redeveloped Manila Zoo as a vaccination site for senior citizens and minors aged 5 to 11 as the national government plans to roll out the first pediatric vaccination on the first week of February.
Based on the latest data from the Department of Health, there are around 13.5 million children aged 5 to 11 in the country. Vaccinating this age group will be a big step in meeting the government’s goal of resuming physical classes and lessening restrictions on children.
Moreno said the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden is an ideal vaccination site. The 5-hectare recreation facility has lots of open spaces and after their vaccination, children and their grandparents can go around to see the animals, the garden and the museums.
“So we thought, dahil sa nagre-request na mga tao sa Manila Zoo, at least magkaroon sila ng sneak peek. At marami naman na ang mapapasyalan dito – open air, maaliwalas. Double purpose pa, maipapasyal nila ang kanilang apo o yung mga lolo at lola,” Moreno said on Saturday during his visit to the zoo.
The initial Covid-19 vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 will be rolled out on Feb. 1-7. The Pfizer doses that will be used for the pediatric vaccination are expected to be delivered by the end of January, Only the US-made vaccine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the young age group.
But while waiting for the arrival of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine, Moreno said minors aged 12-17 can also go to Manila Zoo to get inoculated. The upcoming vaccination site will be open to both residents and non-residents of Manila.
“Para dito naman, minors, 12-17, in the coming days. Pero ‘pag dumating na ang bakuna (para sa) 5-11 years old, pwede na rin natin sila bakunahan dito. In a matter of few hours, in a matter of day or two, 48 hours or 24 hours, makakakuha na kayo ng abiso sa’min,” Moreno said.
To ensure that minimum health protocols will be strictly followed, Moreno said Manila Zoo’s daily foot traffic will be limited to 500 or 1,000 people only.
“Ngayon, para hindi malabag ang alituntinin ng IATF, due diligence will be observed by the city — ika-cap natin. Ibig sabihin, magkakaroon ng registration. Ilo-launch din natin website ng Manila Zoo, para dun magparehistro yung gusting magpabakuna,” Moreno pointed out.
Moreno said parents of the minors can also get their booster at the Manila Zoo. Grandparents who are senior citizens can also get their booster shots here.
Last Thursday, Moreno opened the 4-wheel drive-thru booster vaccination in front of the Quirino Grandstand which was a huge success, prompting the Manila mayor to make it a 24 hour daily operation with the vaccinators working on an 8-hour shift.
Like the Manila government’s drive-thru vaccination policy, the Manila Zoo vaccination site will be open to both residents and non-residents of Manila.
“Una, nakita natin yung response ng tao sa drive-thru 24/7 booster caravan sa Luneta. Last night, nagdagdag tayo ng additional two lanes. But still, lumalaki ang demand ng tao na nagpapa-booster. So, nakikita namin, adjust kami nang adjust at kung papaano namin mapagpapabuti at magiging efficient ang booster vaccination at vaccination for kids,” Moreno said.
“At the same time, tuloy pa rin ang bakunahan sa mga health center, eskwelahan at sa malls. Ngayon, may Manila Zoo na. Kaya mga ibang lolo at lola natin dito sa Luzon o Metro Manila, basta pagbukas ng website at bukas na yung registration, tira na kayo, punta na kayo dito. It is going to be a daily thing. Nakapamasyal na kayo, naproteksyonan niyo pa,” he said.
The nearly five-hectare facility, known as the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, opened to the public in July 1959 but has not undergone major renovation since then. The zoo was closed temporarily in January 2019 for upgrade and renovation.
The new Manila Zoo now boasts of new and exciting facilities that include world-class animal enclosures – especially for Mali the elephant – that are surrounded by transparent glass where visitors can get up close to the animals.
Elevated viewing decks around the enclosures are also in place. There is also the Animal Museum, Botanical Garden, and the Butterfly Garden with its own viewing loft, and separate enclosures for Filipino endemic animals and birds.
The enclosures and facilities are intersected by wide, elevated pathways where visitors can see the animals and other sights while going around the zoo.
Amenities include clean, spacious restrooms with stalls for persons with disabilities (PWDs), drinking fountains, souvenir shops, food stalls and a new parking area.
Benches are placed in strategic areas where visitors can take family pictures or group selfies, while additional benches are being put in place along the pathways so that people can take a rest and take additional pictures.
The facility is also well-lighted and night visitors will be treated to the attractions of several dancing fountains and mini-falls around the zoo’s lagoon. The New Manila Zoo even has its own state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant. MARLON PURIFICACION