Cebu City to VVOC: We deserve more vaccines
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The vaccine supply cannot catch up with Cebu City’s speedy vaccination program.
The Cebu City Health Department (CHD) reported that they had completed the roll-out of nearly 5,000 Sinovac vaccines in only one day at the city’s four operating sites on Thursday, June 24, 2021.
A portion of the the vaccines were reserved for the mountain barangay residents, but as of noon June 25, 2021, all vaccines had run out.
The speed at which Cebu City has been inoculating not only its residents but non-residents working here as well is currently un-paralleled by any other local government unit (LGU) in the region.
This is why Doctor Jeffrey Ibones, the CHD officer-in-charge, is appealing to the regional Department of Health (DOH-7) especially the Visayas Vaccine Operations Center (VVOC) to allocate more vaccines to the city.
He said that with the speed of the roll-out, the massive population the city would need to inoculate, and the sheer number of registrants for the program, which had now reached almost 200,000, must be considered in the allocations.
“Kusog kaayo sa Cebu City sa pagbakuna. Iconsider unta na sa DOH. Gae sad mig dako-dako nga allocation,” said Ibones.
(The vaccination in Cebu City is really fast. The DOH should consider that. They should provide us with a bigger allocation of vaccines.)
Though he did not say specifically the reason why, Ibones expressed dismay that Cebu City was “not receiving the allocations it deserved.”
Reports have been circulating that LGUs in Cebu felt dismayed that they were receiving fewer allocations of the vaccines than the Project Balik Buhay (PBB), a program launched with the business sector to vaccinate workers.
Doctor Jean Loreche, VVOC spokesperson, denied that the PBB had been favored more than the LGUs saying that the allocation of vaccines would depend on various factors.
“The vaccine allocation is never unfair and one-sided favoring PBB. PBB is an enhancement or let’s call it a support system for the government activities in this national vaccination deployment program from the private sector,” Loreche said.
“The following requirements are to be considered in the allocation of these vaccines: master list must be submitted and followed in order to ensure that eligible persons with no duplications, data is valid and cleansed. Preparedness of the vaccination sites is another and, of course, availability of vaccine supplies and lastly, the performance of the LGU or vaccination site in dispensing the vaccines is considered as well, as this removes the problems of wastage and delay in the implementation of the vaccination program,” she said in a text message to CDN Digital.
Yet Cebu City said that its performance in the roll-out of the vaccines had far exceeded that of its neighbors. In fact, more registered individuals are waiting to get vaccinated as compared to those who were already vaccinated.
Loreche said the problem was universal: there was simply a lack of supply of vaccines all over the country.
With this, Loreche assured that as long as LGUs would comply with the requirements including the master list, they would get the allocated vaccines accordingly.
Doctor Jaime Bernadas, DOH-7 director, said that the allocations for the municipalities had been sub allocated by the province while the allocations for the tricities and Metro Cebu had been allocated through a “utilization rating” by the VVOC based on established allocations by the national VOC.
“Allocations are discussed in the VVOC meetings where everyone is represented. It can only be allocated as much as how it arrives,” said Bernadas.
For now, the vaccine sites in Cebu City are once again shut down except for a few sites dedicated for second dose inoculation.
Its residents will have to wait again for another batch of vaccines to come.
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