By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — With some government officials skipping the vaccine priority list to be vaccinated ahead of front-liners, health workers are being deprived of protection from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as they face the threat in attending daily to the needs of Covid patients in hospitals across the country.
In a statement, health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire underscored the importance of following the government’s prioritization program in the fight against the novel coronavirus (nCoV) and the global pandemic.
“Nakakalungkot, and it is really so frustrating na hindi po ba tayo pare-pareho nang pakiramdam, na gusto nating proteksyunan lahat ng ating mga health care workers. For every single dose we get from them, we deprive one healthcare worker of this dose for their protection,” Vergeire pointed out.
She added that those officials (who skipped the line) should not use as an excuse that the targeted health worker did not show up during the scheduled inoculation, saying there should be a quick substitution list prepared by the local government units (LGUs).
“Ang quick substitution po ay kasama po sa protocol na inisyu natin bago po tayo nagbakunahan. This quick substitution list ay isang listahan na amin pong pina-prepare because we are recognizing the fact that during the vaccination day, baka po mayroon pa ring refusal so ayaw po namin natin na masayang ang mga bakuna na nabuksan na o hindi kaya ay nailabas na sa kanilang storage refrigerator,” Vergeire clarified.
The health official stressed that the 1.8 million doses of vaccines are only enough for health workers in the country.
“We are looking at 1.8 million health workers and that is just an estimate, alam namin na mas malaki pa d’yan, pero mas mayroon na tayong mga kababayan na mas gustong mauna,” she noted.
Vergeire likewise warned that if officials keep on violating the priority list, this might compromise the further supply from the World Health Organization (WHO) COVAX facility.
Meanwhile, Eastern Samar governor Ben Evardone appealed to all local government, executives to strictly follow the priority listings in the rollout of vaccines.
“We should set the example in ensuring proper and orderly vaccination rollout,” Evardone enthused while reiterating Vergeire’s reminder that government officials as public servants should avoid jumping the queue line because health workers and front-liners need to be protected first.
Based on the latest reports, Eastern Samar has so far received 2,587 vaccine doses from the national government and that have all been used to inoculate health workers in the province.
Citing the national government’s target to immunize 70 million Filipinos once vaccine supplies are, Evardone appealed to the public to really understand that there is a tight supply worldwide.
The former solon echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning that the country’s allocations from the WHO vaccine consortium led by the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI) could be jeopardized if the terms of the donations are not strictly followed.
Evardone said he fully supports the initiative of Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go to encourage the private sector to set up vaccine manufacturing plants in the country to reduce dependence on foreign sources.
“Senator Go’s initiative is very timely and extremely important. All the incentives like tax breaks should be granted to these private companies to encourage them to set up the plants in the country,” he concluded. (AI|MTVN)