The national government is prepared to supply the coronavirus vaccines for over two million residents of Quezon City given the limited resources of its local government unit.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles has relayed the government’s commitment to assist Quezon City after its local government authorities admitted that it can only afford to inoculate 500,000 residents from its initial P1 billion budget for the vaccine purchase.
Of the three million residents of Quezon, Nograles estimated that the adult population is approximately 2.1 million.
“Ang agam-agam po ng QC is sa laki ng budget na inallocate and with 500,000 only to be inoculated using that budget, paano ‘yung natitira with 2.1 million na target natin (The concern of Quezon City is with the huge budget allocated and with only 500,000 to be inoculated using that budget, what will happen to the others with the 2.1 million target),” Nograles said during the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) team in Quezon City Thursday.
“Kung ano ang kulang, ano ang kinakailangan na additional vaccines to inoculate the 70 percent target for Quezon City, ang national government ang bahala na diyan (The national government will take care of whatever is lacking, what additional vaccines are needed to inoculate the 70 percent target for Quezon City),” he said during the meeting attended by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., QC Mayor Joy Belmonte, and other local officials.
Nograles added: “You have our assurance that we will commit to inoculate the 2.1 to 2.4 million residents that we need to inoculate.”
The government recently started to secure millions of doses of vaccines from various suppliers such as Novavax, Sinovac, Moderna, and AstraZeneca for its free vaccination drive. The first shipment of the supply is expected to arrive next year.
In his remarks Thursday, Nograles said they appreciate the Quezon City government’s initiative to forge an early tripartite deal to secure vaccine supplies for its constituents.
He also recognized that Quezon City plays a huge role in the government’s vaccination target to attain herd immunity and asked the local government to help improve public trust in the immunization drive.
“Because ang NCR ang mauuna sa rollout, kumbaga all the regions will look at NCR. All the regions will actually be looking at Quezon City (Because NCR will be first in the vaccine rollout, all the other regions will look at NCR. All the other regions will actually be looking at Quezon City),” he said.
“Ito ang challenge sa mauuna. Ang challenge is everybody will be watching kung yan ba ay safe, yun ba effective. Magkakaroon ba ng adverse effect. Ito ba ay successful (This the challenge to those who will be first. The challenge is everybody will be watching if it is safe, if it is effective, if there will be an adverse effect),” he added.
With all eyes on Metro Manila, he said the national government expects the local government units “to build up the confidence level of our citizens.” He said the government will never allow the inoculation of citizens if these are not guaranteed safe and effective.
“I’m very confident with you at the helm, Mayor, Vice Mayor, and the city council, magagawa natin ito (we can do this,” he said about the planned massive immunization drive in the country. )