MANILA – There is no inequality in the distribution of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines in the country, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave the assurance in a virtual press conference, as he explained that the government has to allocate more vaccine doses in areas with high Covid-19 infections.
“Hindi naman po inequality kundi it is based on science na talaga pong kung saan iyong quota, kung saan pinakamataas ang mga kaso ng Covid-19 ay binibigyan po natin ng karagdagang supply dahil iyong pagbabakuna nga po ay isang depensa laban sa lalo pang pagkalat ng Covid-19 (That is not inequality because it is based on science. Those with high Covid-19 cases are receiving more supply because the vaccine is a protection against Covid-19),” he said.
Roque, nevertheless, ensured that there will be a “steady” supply in areas considered as “vulnerable” to the coronavirus.
“Bibigyan-prayoridad ng ating vaccine deployment ang mga lugar na most vulnerable sa Covid-19 surges (The areas deemed most vulnerable to Covid-19 surges will be given priority in the vaccine deployment),” he said.
In an interview with SMNI’s “Exclusive” aired on Tuesday night, Duterte said Cebu, Cagayan, and Zamboanga would get a bigger supply of Covid-19 vaccines due to the sudden increase of cases in these provinces.
The National Capital Region (NCR) Plus 8, which consists of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Batangas, and Pampanga, has been prioritized for the Covid-19 vaccination program.
The allocation of Covid-19 vaccine vials in Metro Manila and the eight other areas depends on incoming supplies.
‘Not a badge of honor’ for NCR Plus 8
Roque said NCR Plus 8 getting more vaccine doses due to the rise in Covid-19 infections should be considered as a privilege.
“Hindi po karangalan na ang Metro Manila Plus, dahil dito ang pinakamaraming kaso ng Covid ay mas maraming nabibigay na bakuna. hindi po iyan karangalan (It is not an honor for Metro Manila Plus to receive more vaccines because they have high Covid-19 cases. That is not an honor) It is not a badge of honor. It is a sad state of fact na marami po ang kaso rito (that there are many cases there),” he said.
Several vaccination sites around Metro Manila will be temporarily closed this week due to a supply shortage.
On Wednesday, National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. guaranteed that Metro Manila would receive a new allocation of jabs beginning June 14 as the country expects more deliveries of the vaccines.
Over 11 million vaccine doses are expected to arrive in June, 10 million doses in July, 17 million doses in August, and up to 20 million doses in September.
Galvez said a total of 11,058,000 vaccine vials are expected to be delivered to the country this month.
Of the 11,058,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses, around 5.5 million will come from Sinovac, 1 million from Sputnik, 250,000 from Moderna, 2.28 million from Pfizer-BioNTech, and 2.028 million from AstraZeneca.
Chinese vax not causing resurgence
Meantime, Roque debunked insinuations that Chinese-made vaccines are causing a Covid-19 resurgence in countries where these are being administered.
Roque said the countries experiencing resurgence may just have had a “false sense of security,” prompting their citizens to defy health protocols after vaccination.
“Huwag muna nating tanggapin po iyang konklusyon na nagkakaroon ng resurgence sa mga bansa na ginamit ang predominantly Chinese (Let us not accept first the conclusion that there is a resurgence in countries that use predominantly Chinese vaccines),” he said. “I don’t think na may kinalaman iyong bakuna sa resurgence (I don’t think the vaccine has something to do with the resurgence).” (PNA)