Velasco wants urban centers prioritized in vaccine rollout

Velasco wants urban centers prioritized in vaccine rollout

MANILA – Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Monday urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to prioritize the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus and other urban centers with a high concentration of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the vaccine rollout.

Velasco said this should be done only after all 1.7 million medical front-liners all over the country are fully inoculated against Covid-19.

“As we await large supplies of vaccines to come in, we urge the IATF to prioritize NCR Plus and other urban centers in our vaccine rollout so we can quell the surge in new infections in those areas,” Velasco said.

Velasco noted that Mega Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and other regional centers should be given priority vaccine allocation aside from the NCR Plus.

NCR Plus, which has experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases, is composed of the cities and municipality in Metro Manila, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

Velasco said the best defense against the “superspreader variants” would be to inundate these areas with vaccines.

He said it would be prudent at this point to concentrate inoculation efforts toward areas where the health systems are vulnerable.

“Our efforts should be strategic as we wait for the time until our vaccine supplies become stable,” Velasco said.

Based on the latest National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19’s count, NTF chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said 1,809,801 doses have been administered to priority groups under categories A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidities).

About 1,065,728 healthcare workers, 240,221 senior citizens, and 256,866 persons with comorbidities have been vaccinated since the government’s vaccine rollout started on March 1.

Galvez said beginning August, the country is slated to receive a stable supply of around 15 to 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from various pharmaceutical firms — Sinovac-Biotech, Gamaleya Research Institute, Moderna, Novavax, Johnson&Johnson, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNtech and through the COVAX Facility. (PNA)

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