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Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine in Cebu City: Tips and FAQs

If you're getting your COVID-19 vaccine in Cebu City, here are a few tips and FAQs that will make the process easier and smoother for you.

What You Need to Know About Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine in Cebu City

First things first. In order to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Cebu City, you need to register with the city’s Vaccine Information Management System. If you haven’t done that yet, read this.

Residents of Cebu City can register to get the COVID-19 vaccine at PaBakunaTa.com. This is the official online registration site of the City of Cebu and is part of the country's Vaccine Information Management System.

 

At PaBakunaTa.com you will be asked to fill in the following information, so it's best if you have it in hand before you start the registration process:

 

Category

  • Health Care Worker
  • Senior Citizen
  • Indigent
  • Uniformed Personnel
  • Essential Worker
  • Other
  • Senior Citizen - Indigent *

 

Prioritization

  • A1: Health Care Workers
  • A2: Senior Citizens
  • A3: Adult with Comorbidity
  • A4: Frontline Personnel in Essential Sector
  • A5: Poor Population
  • B1: Teachers and Social Workers
  • B2: Other Government Workers
  • B3: Other Essential Workers
  • B4: Socio-Demographic Groups **
  • B5: Overseas Filipino Workers
  • B6: Other Remaining Workforce
  • C: Rest of the Population

 

* This is found at the end of this list of categories, so I'm not sure if indigent senior citizens would be given priority over non-indigent ones.

** This was shortened for convenience in the registration website but the complete description "is Socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk other than senior citizens and poor population based on the NHTS-PR."

 

Available ID (in relation to the next field, which is for the ID number)

  • PRC number - for professionals registered with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
  • OSCA number - for senior citizens with an ID from the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA)
  • Facility ID number - presumably for other frontliners working in healthcare facilities, such as aides, who are not registered with the PRC
  • Other ID

 

ID No. - Use the number in your PRC, OSCA or Facility ID if you chose any of these three in the previous field; otherwise, any valid ID will do. If you don't have one, you can type NA.

 

Philhealth ID - Your PhilHealth number, if you have one; otherwise, type NA.

 

PWD ID - If you're a person wth disability (PWD) write your ID number here; otherwise, type NA.

 

Are you a Social Pension Grantee? The answer is simply yes or no.

 

Your personal details

  • Last name
  • First name
  • Middle name
  • Suffix (such as Jr, III, etc.)
  • Date of birth
  • Contact number - make sure this is a working number, preferably a mobile phone number, as you'll be receiving your vaccination schedule here
  • Address
  • Barangay - has to be in Cebu City
  • Sitio
  • Sex at birth
  • Civil status
  • Employment status - has an option for Others
  • Profession - has an option for Others
  • Providing direct care to a COVID-19 patient? (Simply yes or no.)

 

Employment Details

  • Name of employer - Type NA if not applicable.
  • Governmental unit [to] which the employer belongs - Choose from the list of cities and municipalities in Cebu island. If you don't have an employer, just select Cebu City.
  • Company address - Type NA if not applicable.
  • Company contact number - Type NA if not applicable.

 

Health Information

  • With allergy? (Yes/No)
  • Choose allergies - Tick the box before the things you are allergic to; you can select more than one.
    • Drug
    • Food
    • Insect
    • Latex
    • Mold
    • Pet
    • Pollen
    • Vaccines or Component of Vaccine
  • With comorbidities? (Yes/No)
  • Choose comorbidities - Tick the box(es) before the health condition(s) you have. People with these comorbidities are at higher risk of COVID complications and so they are given higher priority for vaccination.
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure, over 140/90)
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney disease
    • Diabetes mellitus (yes, this is what we usually just refer to as diabetes)
    • Bronchial asthma
    • Immunodeficiency state
    • Cancer
    • Others
  • Covid history? (Yes/No)
  • Date of first positive result / specimen collection - Not a required question. You only need to choose a date if you answered "Yes" to the previous question.
  • Classification of infection - Not a required question. You only need to choose a date if you answered "Yes" to the previous question. If you were previously COVID positive, the choices are:
    • Asymptomatic
    • Mild
    • Moderate
    • Severe
    • Critical

 

Are you willing to be vaccinated? (Yes/No/Undecided)

 

Email Address

 

Once you click Submit, you will see a confirmation message on the screen saying:

 

Success!

 

Thank you for your successful COVID-19 Vaccination Online Registration! You will be notified with your vaccination schedule and venue through your registered contact number. For further questions and inquiries, please call our COVID-19 Vaccination Center Hotline at 0928 826 7084 / 0928 934 7148.

 

Unfortunately, the Cebu City COVID-19 vaccine registration system does not send you a confirmation email after you have successfully filled up and submitted the form.

 

From personal experience, though, you don't need to worry. Those of us in the family who have had our vaccines did not get confirmation emails but our details were nevertheless there in the database when they verified our info during vaccination day. As long as you got the "Success!" message described above, your details should be there too.

 

Cebu City residents, like everyone else in the country, are scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine according to priority group.

 

You will be notified by the city government when it's your priority group's turn to be vaccinated.

 

You will receive your vaccination schedule in a text message sent to the mobile number you submitted in the registration form.


The text message will contain the following information:

 

What: 1st/2nd dose vaccination

Where: The facility where you've been assigned to get your jab *

When: The date you should go the facility

Time: The time you should go the facility **


* In Cebu City, there are several vaccination venues, including SM Seaside, Robinson's Galleria, the University of Cebu (UC) Banilad Senior High Building (near Banilad Town Center), and the UC Main Senior High School campus at J. Alcantara St. (near Elizabeth Mall). You will most likely be assigned to the vaccination site nearest your registered barangay; for example, residents of Lahug, Banilad, Talamban, and other nearby barangays will be assigned to the UC Banilad facility.

 

** If the text message you receive does not specify a time, you can go anytime during the day. The cut-off time for entry is usually 3 PM.

 

If you haven't received a text message informing you of your schedule, it probably still isn't your turn to receive the vaccine. You can try calling the numbers provided post-registration (09288267084 / 09289347148) if you have questions that you need urgently answered.

 

Update: The Cebu City government has advised that if you still haven't received your schedule for vaccination even though it's been a while since you registered to receive the vaccine, you can go to either SM Seaside or Robinson's Galleria to verify your schedule.

 

I know someone who had registered at PaBakunaTa.com and hadn't yet received notification of her schedule. On the day that her parents were scheduled to receive their vaccine, she went with them and asked if she could receive the vaccine together with them. Unfortunately she was turned away because they weren't accepting walk-ins. (It was one of the days they were administering the Pfizer vaccine so that might have something to do with how strict they were with walk-ins.) Anyway, she went home unvaccinated, waited, and eventually received her schedule for vaccination after a few days.

The rest of this article is mostly focused on how to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the UC Banilad facility, but a lot of the information below could still be useful even if you’ve been assigned to Robinsons Galleria, SM Seaside, UC Main, or other vaccination sites.

Are walk-ins allowed at the UC Banilad COVID-19 vaccination site?

Officially, walk-ins are not allowed at UC Banilad or in any of the COVID-19 vaccine facilities in Cebu City. Some people have been able to get their shot without a prior text notification from the Cebu City government assigning them to a particular date, time, and facility, so if it’s really urgent that you get your COVID-19 vaccine and you haven’t been scheduled yet, you could try your luck and walk in. Just keep in mind that walk-ins are officially not allowed and so there’s no guarantee that you will be let in, particularly if a greater-than-expected number of people are scheduled or have turned up that day.

Update June 2021: The Department of Health (DOH) Region 7 Director recently made a statement about walk-ins being “not discouraged.” However, from reports of people who have recently tried to walk-in, it’s actually a bit more difficult now to be accepted if you don’t have a text notification. In fact, there have also been reports of people (at a different vaccine site) who did receive a text notifying them of their schedule that day who were nevertheless turned away because there was not enough vaccines on hand — and yet they saw some people being shepherded through the vaccine queue like VIPs. All coinciding with the arrival of Pfizer vaccines. Hmmm. I hope these goings-on are rare, and dealt with accordingly, and that scheduling becomes more efficient.

What do I need to bring on the day of vaccination?

Everyone will need to bring a valid ID and the phone with the text informing of their vaccine schedule. *

Senior citizens are enjoined to bring their OSCA ID if they have one already. If not, a government-issued ID or any valid ID that shows your date of birth should be fine. (The date of birth is to prove that you are indeed a senior citizen and entitled to priority over non-seniors.)

Persons with comorbidities are required to bring the following:

  • a medical certificate stating that they have one or more of the conditions that make them at high risk for COVID-19 complications;
  • their latest prescription for the said condition (ex. latest inhaler prescription for those with asthma)
  • a government-issued ID

Those coming in as frontliners will need to bring a certificate of employment from the facility where they serve.

As the country goes forward with its vaccination plan, more information about requirements will inevitably be published, so please keep tabs on official announcements from the Department of Health.

Aside from those documents, it will make your life so much easier if you also bring:

  • Your own pen – there are forms you need to fill up on site so this is really a must
  • Water and food – in case the wait is long and you get thirsty/hungry

And of course you need to wear a mask. A face shield isn’t necessary inside the building but you can certainly wear one if you want.

* See section above about walk-ins.

What to Expect at the Vaccination Site

Where is the UC Banilad vaccination site?

Take note that the UC Banilad COVID-19 vaccination facility is at the Senior High School building across Banilad Town Center. It is not the building across Gaisano Country Mall but just a bit further north and on the same side as Country Mall.

Until what time is the UC Banilad vaccination facility open?

According to the Cebu City government employee doing the orientation, they will generally accept vaccinees until 3 PM. This is to allow everyone to complete the entire process from admission to monitoring before nighttime. However, she said if there are only a few people left by 3 PM, they might consider extending the cut-off time to 4 PM.

What is the best time to go to the facility during vaccination day?

If you haven’t been assigned to a particular time slot, it’s best to go as early as you can, when there are fewer people. The first orientation usually starts between 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM but there will already be a few staff on site at around 6:30 AM to start shepherding people in.

My personal experience was that I arrived there at around 6:30 AM, and there were only two people ahead of me in the queue. There were also two Cebu City government employees already sitting at the “Front Desk” although they didn’t start handing out forms until a bit later. Although I had to wait over an hour before the orientation started, the time actually passed by quickly enough! And, of course, the best thing about arriving early was that I was exposed to fewer people, and I finished the whole process — including post-vaccination monitoring — before 9 AM.

So how does the vaccination process work at UC Banilad? Where should I go first?

If you’re facing the front of the UC Senior High building, at your right will be a ramp going down the basement for parking, and at your left will be a few steps going up to the glass front door.

A guard will check your temperature and make sure you’re wearing the necessary PPE.

UC Banilad Admission Area

Beyond the guard, you will find a couple of rows of chairs and a table (let’s call it the Front Desk) where the ladies who give out forms* stay. When I arrived, they weren’t giving out the forms yet, so I took my seat and waited till I was called over to the Front Desk and given the forms. However, when you arrive, you could also just approach the table and ask if they were giving out forms already.

Also at the Front Desk, I was instructed to write my name, age, barangay of residence, and vaccine brand preference on a piece of paper. (That is, we were told to write our brand preference, but the only brand available that day was Astra Zeneca, so it didn’t really matter much.)

*The “forms” I’m referring to consisted of: (1) a sheet of paper containing information about the vaccine, (2) the consent form, (3) a table with a “Yes” or “No” column where you were asked to check whether you have allergies, were on medications, stuff like that, and (4) a monitoring form for the health staff to fill in later with your vital signs, etc.

After I was given the form, I was instructed to proceed to the Orientation area, where there were armchairs where I could fill up the form while waiting for the orientation to start.

UC Banilad Orientation Area

At the very front of the Orientation area, there are 5 or 6 tables with computers manned by government staff.

In front of each table is a line of armchairs — which is basically a seated queue. If you’re seated on column 1, you will be on the line for table 1; if you’re seated on column 2, you will be on the line for table 2; and so on.

But before you go to the tables, there will be an Orientation, where you’re talked through the whole vaccination process and guided on how to fill up your forms.

Once that’s done and everything’s ready, the persons at the front row will go over to the tables and the persons behind them will move forward to the next chair.

At the table, the person with the computer will verify the information you’ve pre-entered at PaBakunaTa.com. If everything checks out, they will print out and give you a vaccination card with your name on it, and you proceed to Screening.

TIP:
Table 1 is where persons with disabilities (PWDs) are accommodated. They are given priority. If there are a bunch of PWDs, the order of people going up to the table will be one person from the regular line, then one PWD, then the next person from the regular line, then the next PWD, and so on. So the tip is…try to avoid column 1.

Throughout the process, there will be staff in the hallways ushering you to the next room, so you’ll be adequately guided. And you can always ask whoever’s around for help, if you’re unsure where to go next.

Screening is where they take your vital signs. If everything’s okay, you move on to Counseling. (If not everything is okay — for example, if your blood pressure is a bit too high because you’re nervous, you’ll be encouraged to wait and chill for a bit. If your blood pressure is really high, you might be given an antihypertensive medication. My mother’s systolic blood pressure was 150+ mmHg at first and they waited till it went down to 140 mmHg before letting her go on to Counseling.)

Counseling is where you talk to a doctor and they ask you about your medical history to determine if it’s okay for you to receive the vaccine. If you have any questions or concerns, that’s a good time to raise them. If you don’t have any contraindications, and there are no problems whatsoever, you proceed to the most important step: vaccination.

You’ll be ushered into a room where you will be asked to sit down in front of a table. There are several tables, each with a nurse who will do the shot, and one or two assistants. They will ask which arm you prefer to be injected on. And then: the actual Vaccination.

Don’t worry — the shot isn’t painful at all. I was closing my eyes, because I was expecting some pain and I don’t exactly have a high tolerance for it, but there really wasn’t any! You just become aware of the needle going in, but you don’t feel any discomfort after that. (If you’ve ever had blood drawn for a CBC, the COVID-19 vaccine is much less painful, seriously.)

You know how they say it’ll just be like an ant bite? It’s really true in this case. (In fact, most ant bites sting more!)

After you get the vaccine, you’ll be guided towards the monitoring area. Along the way, there’s a table where they will check your monitoring form for what time you got the shot, and then they will put that time and the time you will end post-vaccine monitoring in sticker paper, which they will stick onto your shirt, so it’s easy for staff to tell when you’re done and good to go. They’ll also take your post-vax vital signs. Then you will be guided to another table where they will take a look at your vaccination card and update their database. Finally, you’ll be ushered towards the Monitoring area where there are benches you can sit on and be monitored.

Monitoring lasts for around 30 minutes. The immediate concern with vaccines is hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions, which usually occur immediately after you get the shot, so that’s why you’re monitored for some time before being allowed to go home. There are lots of medical staff around, so if you feel anything at all, just let them know. There’s even an ambulance waiting just outside the Monitoring area, in case anyone has symptoms severe enough to have to go to the hospital, but emergency meds are on hand on site as well.

While you’re waiting, they will play a recorded reminder of what you’re supposed to do and not do, what to watch out for when you get home, what to expect, things like that.

Finally, after 30 minutes or so, if everything’s fine and you have no signs or symptoms of adverse reactions to the vaccine, staff will get your monitoring sheet and you’ll be released home.

And that’s it! You’re vaccinated. Light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.

Don't forget to keep your vaccination card in a safe place!

COVID-19 Vaccination Card Cebu City

Your vaccination card will contain your name, address, contact number, and other personal information.

It will also document the date you got your first dose, the brand of the vaccine you got, the Lot No. of the vaccine, and the name and signature of the person who administered the shot.

On your vaccination card will also be written the date you are to come back for your second dose.

Finally, your vaccination card also contains emergency hotline numbers that you can call if you feel anything — any sign or symptom at all — for which you think you need medical attention.

Congratulations on getting your shot.

Keep safe and keep others safe. This pandemic won’t last forever. xx