Twelve coronavirus-affected places have been identified by the government as among the priority areas for its free vaccination drive.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the “focused areas” include the National Capital Region, Region 4A (CALABARZON), Region 3 (Central Luzon), Davao City, Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio City, Bacolod, Iloilo, Zamboanga City, Tacloban City, General Santos City “and other affected places.”
These geographical priorities were mentioned as part of President Duterte’s guidance to local government units about the vaccination strategy. The presentation was made by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez during a meeting with the President and other Cabinet members in Davao City Monday.
“Ini-report sa Presidente na ibinababa na sa level ng lokal na pamahalaan ang guidance ng Pangulo tungkol sa COVID-19 na we are not safe until everyone is safe (He reported to the President that his guidance on COVID-19 has been cascaded to local government units that we are not safe until everyone is safe),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday.
“Kasama sa guidance, which was cascaded to the LGUs, ang tungkol sa equitable access for the poors and indigents ng bakuna (Part of the guidance cascaded to the LGUs is about the equitable access to vaccines for the poor and indigents),” he added.
Local government units have also been informed that health workers and other containers, soldiers and policemen, servicemen and other essential workers will also be given priority for vaccine supply, according to Roque.
“Lahat ng mga Pilipino ay dapat may bakuna, walang exemption (All Filipinos should have the vaccine without exception),” he said.
The government earlier disclosed plans to buy coronavirus vaccines initially for 60 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity against the illness. Negotiations are underway to secure supplies from vaccine makers abroad.
President Duterte, in his remarks Monday night, explained that the Philippines seemed to be playing “second fiddle” to the vaccine acquisition since it is not a rich country.
Duterte also admitted that there was no available vaccines from US-based Pfizer for the Philippines for now since the Americans are first to be vaccinated. “Wala man tayo masyadong ano, ‘yung pera lang natin pangbili lang talaga (we don’t have that much money except enough to buy the vaccines) but we do not have the clout because we are not a rich nation,” he said.