Vice Mayor Rama on lack of vaccines: Are we being punished for being efficient?
DOH, VVOC belie Rama's claims: 14,920 doses already delivered today
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama said the allocated vaccines in Cebu City were far insufficient for its vaccination capacity.
The vice mayor, who leads the vaccination program of the city, lamented that the delivery of vaccines at such small volumes was costing a lot of energy for the vaccination sites that have to open and close repeatedly depending on the number of vaccines arriving at the city.
The vice mayor said that the current allocation from the national government simply could not sustain the number of sites in the city. The city currently has five sites, and eventually, at least 10 others will be opened for a total of 15 vaccination sites.
“Recently we received 5,000 vaccines, but that is only for one day in five sites. What will happen when we have 15 sites operating? Are we being punished for being efficient?” he asked.
Rama met with Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) officials on his last day as Acting Mayor on June 30, 2021, regarding the issue with the vaccine allocations.
He was informed that Cebu City was allocated an additional 15,000 vaccines that arrived on June 29, 2021, but on the same day, only 5,000 were released to the city.
He demanded to the Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) to explain where the 15,000 vaccines went because in the national government’s records, the city should be allocated the full number of doses.
Rama said he received reports that a portion of the city’s supposed allocations were going to the Project Balik Buhay (PBB), a vaccination program being spearheaded by the private sector.
“Kung wala ta mangutana, mura tag makalilimos. Sige tag huwat nya then there was a time nga hurot na ang Pfizer nato, and then we learned nga ang PBB naa pay Pfizer. Ato ning klaruhon aron dili ta maggubot diri, unsa man gyod, nganong shortage man ta sa vaccine?” said Rama.
(If we did not ask, we were like beggars. We continued to wait and then there was a time when the doses of Pfizer were already used, and then we learned that the PBB still has Pfizer vaccines. We just want to know what the real score is, why is there a shortage of vaccines?)
The vice mayor appealed that when allocating vaccines, the allocation to the local government units (LGU) should never be touched or reallocated to the PBB.
“Wala man tay problema sa Project Balik Buhay. Nagpasalamat ta nga naa sila dinha motabang. Amoa lang, dili hilabtan ang allocation sa Cebu City kay kami man ang LGU,” said Rama.
(We have no problem with Project Balik Buhay. We are grateful to them because they are there to help. What we just wanted is they should not touch the allocation of Cebu City because we are the LGU.)
DOH, VVOC: Claims not true
The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) and the VVOC immediately responded to the demand of Rama for an explanation.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of the VVOC, said that the 14,920 doses allocated to Cebu City were already delivered completely today. The 5,000 initially delivered on June 30 was only a partial delivery.
She denied that the PBB’s doses were deducted from Cebu City’s allocations as the allocated vaccines to PBB depends on the master list submitted to them.
“None was given to PBB. The PBB allocation is from the doses sent for Metro Cebu, and let’s not forget that the vaccinated persons are from the master list submitted by companies located in the LGUs,” said Loreche.
Metro Cebu was allocated 18,520 doses of the vaccines of which 3,000 doses were given to the PBB. Cebu City’s allocation of 14,592 doses were untouched at all.
The Cebu City Health Department (CHD) also confirmed to CDN Digital the arrival for the full number of doses stipulated in the allocations.
“The Project Balik Buhay ( PBB) acts as a support system of all the LGUs. Whatever the PBB performance will be credited to the corresponding LGU. It is of utmost importance that we prepare for when the supply of vaccines is available that we are able to do vaccinations in a timely, speedy manner,” said Loreche.
Despite the lack of doses, Rama said he would not recommend the purchasing of the city’s own vaccines yet because millions of vaccines were coming into the city.
If the city would order now, the shipment might arrive at a time when the vaccines would no longer be needed, he said.
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