Retail giant SM supermalls has joined the vaccination rollout of the Quezon City government by putting together its own team of doctors and nurses to help inoculate senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities in the city.

“The city has had numerous partnerships with the private sector throughout the pandemic, and we’re glad to be working with them still as we vaccinate our residents and immunize them against COVID,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

Belmonte said the partnership addresses the lack of available healthcare workers who will conduct the vaccination among residents.

“We have agreed that their own medical team can give the shots to qualified SM employees who reside in QC, provided that it will be supervised by our City Health Department,” she added.

On Monday, April 12, the city opened a vaccination site at the Skydome of SM City North Edsa to cater to mall employees who reside in the city and are medical frontliners, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities ages 18 to 59 years old, or those who fall under A1 to A3 categories, respectively.

Also vaccinated on the site were qualified senior citizen residents of Barangay Sto. Cristo, where the mall is located, and its nearby barangays.

According to Business Permits and Licensing Department (BPLD) head Margie Santos, this move will also help boost the economy as frontline workers, such as those who work at malls and supermarkets, will get vaccinated faster.

“There are close to 16,000 SM employees who work and reside in the city and are qualified to get the vaccine. By teaming up with their employer SM, we can be assured that all of them will be vaccinated protecting not just the employees but also the families they go home to after work. We really appreciate SM and other private sector partner for lending us a hand amid manpower crunch,” said Santos.

More vaccination sites are expected to be opened in several other branches of SM malls within the city to cover the target employee population.

The city is also currently in talks with other private sector groups such as Robinsons Malls, Ayala Malls, Araneta City, Eastwood Mall, and the IT and BPO sector. All are considered essential establishments during Enhanced Community Quarantine classification.

Meanwhile, six new vaccination sites were opened in various barangays in the city to cater to individuals who lack internet access and to swiftly roll out the vaccine to the population.

These are Balingasa High School, Commonwealth Elementary School, Quirino Elementary School, Diosdado Macapagal Elementary School, Lagro High School, and New Era Elementary School.

These sites are dedicated to barangay-assisted bookings, or those individuals who do not have access to internet and computer, thus, were not able to book via EZConsult.

“Our target is to open 24 sites to reach herd immunity within six months. With these new sites, we expect to receive more people and the faster the population would be vaccinated,” said Belmonte.