Only a few minutes before Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro was administered with COVID-19 vaccine, he was halted by the Department of Health (DOH) as it insisted that health workers should be prioritized first.
The mayor said earlier that he wanted to get inoculated first in the city to lead by example to boost the confidence of the public to the COVID-19 vaccine
In a press conference on Tuesday (March 2) at the Marikina Mega Vaccination Facility, Teodoro said the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), through testing Czar Secretary Vince Dizon, told him that mayors are prohibited from taking the vaccine for now in order to give way to healthcare workers.
“I was advised through NTF deputy chief implementer and testing czar Vince Dizon that National Immunization Technical Advisory Group of DOH (Department of Health), of Secretary Duque that they are not allowing mayors to get vaccinated as they want to prioritize healthcare workers,” he said.
Teodoro said he insisted on getting vaccinated in order to allay the fears of the public over the vaccine.
With this, the mayor appealed to the national government to allow mayors to set an example to their constituents by getting vaccinated.
“I am saddened because I was ready to get vaccinated this morning, but due to the instruction of the DOH, mayors like me are not yet allowed to get inoculated,” he said while showing the media his accomplished COVID-19 vaccination consent form.
The most pressing issue right now that needs to be addressed is that a lot of people have no trust in the vaccination process in its entirety and not just the kind of vaccine that is going to be used in the inoculation program, Teodoro said.
According to the mayor, the number of medical frontliners at the state-run Amang Rodriguez Medical Center who pre-qualified to get vaccinated has significantly decreased from 1,500 healthcare workers to 130 only.
“Cautious optimism ito ang nararamdaman ng marami. Gusto pero nag-aalala. Kaya kailangan at mahalaga na mayroong manguna. Mayroong maging halimbawa. Ito ang dahilan kaya kahapon ako ay nagpasya na magpabakuna upang manguna at maging halimbawa (Cautious optimism is what many of us is feeling right now. We want but we are worried. This is why someone has to lead. Someone needs to become an example. This is why I decided to get vaccinated yesterday to lead and become an example),” the mayor said.
When he asked some residents, the mayor was told that they want to get vaccinated but others must go first.
Teodoro said that this is why he came up with the concept of “follow the leader” so he presented himself to be the first person to get COVID-19 jab in Marikina.