Palace appeals anew to mayors: ‘Don’t jump vaccination line!’

Published March 25, 2021, 3:54 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang appealed to mayors anew to not skip the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination queue as it may cause the Philippines to lose 44 million vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after President Duterte ordered the Department of Health (DOH) to investigate the people who jumped the vaccination line and got inoculated ahead of their turn.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

In his Thursday presser, Roque told the mayors that the Philippines may lose the support it is getting from the COVAX Facility if the country’s vaccine priority list is not followed.

“Mga mayor, tama na po ‘yan. ‘Pag ‘yan ay nagpatuloy, 44 million ang dosages ng COVAX Facility vaccines ang pupwedeng mawala sa atin (Mayors, please don’t let this happen again. If this continues, we may lose 44 million vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility),” he said.

The Philippines received 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the WHO-led COVAX Facility. WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe has asked the Philippine government to properly roll out the said vaccines so as not to jeopardize future deliveries.

On Wednesday evening, President Duterte named the following local chief executives as among those who jumped the line and received the vaccine:

· Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City, Leyte

· Mayor Dibu Tuan of T’boli, South Cotabato

· Mayor Sulpicio Villalobos of Sto. Niño, South Cotabato

· Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi City, Albay

· Mayor Abraham Ibba of Bataraza, Palawan

The President refused to name the “child of a celebrity” who got vaccinated early. However, it was reported that actor Mark Anthony Fernandez, the son of actress Alma Moreno and the late actor Rudy Fernandez, received the AstraZeneca jab in Parañaque City.

In his Thursday presser, Roque appealed to the mayors to wait for their turn, noting that they were already pushed up the priority list.

“Naitaas na po namin ang priority ng mga mayor to A4. Kasama na po sila ng mga economic frontliners, mga sundalo (We already included the mayors in the priority A4 group. They are joining the economic frontliners and the soldiers),” he said.

“Sa ngayon po, A1 po ang pinababakunahan natin at huwag po kayong mag-jump ng line (For now, we are still vaccinating the A1 group so please don’t jump the line),” he added.

The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has reclassified 1,634 provincial governors and city and municipal mayors and 42,046 barangay captains all over the country to Category A4.

The League of Cities of the Philippines, in a statement, welcomed the move of the IATF, saying local chief executives are also frontliners in the fight against the ongoing pandemic.