Cebu City dad: Vaccination plan is a matter of urgency
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A Cebu City councilor is reiterating the need for the city government to have a comprehensive plan for COVID-19 vaccination.
Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon said that as the city government prepares to procure COVID-19 vaccines for its residents, there is still no clear plan on how these vaccines will be distributed.
An allocation for Cebu City from the national government’s emergency procurement is also expected to be given but there is no clear distribution route for these vaccines as well.
Dizon noted that in a recent survey with Metro Manila respondents conducted by the Octa Research Group from December 9 to 13, 2020, results showed that “if a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine was available during the polling period, the greatest number of respondents at 47% ‘can’t say’ if they will have themselves vaccinated or not; only about a quarter (25%) or 1 out of 4 respondents said they would be willing to get the vaccine if it was available; and in contrast, another 28% said they would not have themselves vaccinated.”
“The figures showed a relatively low vaccine acceptance among the respondents and the Department of Health (DOH) acknowledged the challenge of ramping up communication of ‘critical information’ on vaccines to the public,” said the councilor.
Public information/education drive
Dizon is once again urging the City Council to pass the ordinance underlying the priorities of the vaccine program for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine.
The ordinance is currently still with the committee on laws and Dizon is hoping for a more urgent response for it to be passed in the coming weeks.
“Vaccinating the population is extremely urgent and life-savingly important, because the sooner the target for herd immunity can be reached, the sooner the economy can fully reopen and a better normal way of life can resume,” said Dizon.
The councilor is also requesting the City Health Department to launch a massive COVID-19 vaccine public information/education drive using all platforms and tapping the mass media to educate the people about the inoculation in order to build vaccine confidence among the general population as well as to help them understand the benefits and risks of vaccination and address any misinformation.
Finally, the councilor is urging the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) and Sangguniang Kabataan Federation (SKF) to see if there is a need to form a barangay-based task force to address vaccine confidence down to the community level.
Dizon said that it is not enough for the vaccines to arrive in the city, the public must also be ready to accept them. The city government must dispel the fear of the public regarding the vaccines or else the program may not work.
As of now, Cebu City is among the priority recepient for the China-made Sinovac vaccine. However, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said no resident will be forced to innoculated with this vaccine.
The residents will be a given a choice to wait for either Pfizer, Astrazeneca, or Moderna, whichever the city government will procure using its allotted P500 million budget for the vaccines.
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