MANILA – The national government relies on health experts’ findings in selecting priority areas for the distribution of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured that there is no preferential treatment in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to the “National Capital Region (NCR) Plus 8, Plus 10”.
The NCR Plus 8, the initial areas prioritized for Covid-19 vaccination, consists of Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Batangas, Rizal, Bulacan, Metro Davao, and Metro Cebu.
Roque later announced that 10 more cities would be prioritized in Covid-19 vaccine distribution – Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio, Zamboanga, Dumaguete, Tuguegarao, General Santos, Naga, and Legazpi.
“Mayroon kasing siyensa behind this. Hindi naman po favoritism for favoritism(‘s) sake. Hindi po ‘yan favoritism because of the economic activity alone (There is science behind this. It’s not favoritism for favoritism’s sake. It’s not favoritism because of economic activity alone),” he said in a press conference in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Quoting health experts, Roque said creating an “artificial boundary” or wall around Metro Manila and these priority areas would ensure the safety of those not vaccinated.
“Lutasin mo ‘yung problema rito, malulutas ‘yung problema sa buong bansa dahil ang mga kaso sa Metro Manila, ‘yan din ang kumakalat sa buong bansa (If you solve the problem here, you will solve the problem of the entire country because the cases in Metro Manila are the ones spreading across the country),” he said.
Roque said the “NCR Plus 8, Plus 10” needed to be prioritized considering that they are highly urbanized and contribute much to the economy.
“Mayroon po talaga tayong priority na binibigay dito sa Metro Manila Plus 8 dahil consistent naman po ‘yung science. Lutasin mo, magkaroon ka ng containment sa Metro Manila Plus 8, eh magkakaroon ka rin ng containment sa buong Pilipinas (We really give priority to Metro Manila Plus 8 because consistent with science, if there is containment in Metro Manila Plus 8, there will be containment in the entire country),” he added.
On Monday, the Philippines marked more than 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered since the country kicked off its inoculation program in March.
Official government data showed that 10,065,414 doses were given as of June 27. Of this number, 2,527,286 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while 7,538,128 have received their first shot.
The Philippines aims to achieve “population protection” by yearend by vaccinating 40 percent to 50 percent of its people, especially in priority areas. (PNA)