LEGAZPI CITY – Sorsogon Governor Francis Escudero has appealed to the national government to reconsider its plan to sanction local government units (LGUs) that are still unable to reach their coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination target due to logistics and manpower concerns.
Escudero, in a statement on Wednesday, said it was “unfair” to penalize LGUs for what may be perceived by the government as poor performance in inoculating their constituencies, in order to achieve a national target of one million or more doses per day.
“Maging makatarungan sana sila sa panahon na binibigay sa amin (Be fair in the deadline that they give us),” Escudero said, citing several issues which have hampered the vaccination drive in various localities.
He noted that it took the National Capital Region (NCR) eight months to vaccinate 88 percent of Metro Manila residents versus the barely two-month deadline for LGUs to complete their inoculation program, considering that vaccines and supplies take time to be delivered to the provinces.
Also, there are more doctors, nurses and midwives in the NCR to conduct the vaccination drive, than in rural areas, Escudero added.
Sorsogon, home to almost one million people, has so far vaccinated 28 percent of its qualified population.
Escudero recalled that when vaccination began in Metro Manila last March, the province only started receiving around 1,000 to 2,000 doses per week until September.
It was only last October that Sorsogon started receiving 20,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccines, he noted.
“Last week, they sent 46,000 doses of Pfizer. The problem is they did not send enough syringes. We were not informed about it so now we have to purchase some,” Escudero said.
While Sorsogon may have sufficient supplies of the coronavirus vaccines now, he said, there might not be enough manpower to handle the daily vaccination activities as their doctors and nurses have other responsibilities in the hospitals.
Unlike other provinces and cities where doctors and nurses abound, and in some cases, medical students are mobilized to assist in the vaccination, Sorsogon does not have a sufficient number of medical personnel, he added. (PNA)