People should not jump the cue to receive the coronavirus vaccine jab because it will compromise those who need the doses more, as well as the allocation of donated vaccines to the Philippines, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday, March 28.
Speaking on her weekly radio show, Robredo echoed the call of the Healthcare Professional Alliance against COVID-19 for very important persons (VIPs) to stop cutting in line.
“Sana huwag na. Sana huwag na kasi ang dami natin kino-compromise (I hope they won’t do it not anymore. I hope they won’t because we are compromising many things),” Robredo said over dzXL.
First, health care workers need the vaccine doses more, the vice president noted.
The Philippines only holds about 1.5 million combined doses of China’s Sinovac and AstraZeneca’s vaccines.
The Sinovac vaccines are direct donations by China while the AstraZeneca doses are allocated by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX facility, was built to provide safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to lower-income countries like the Philippines. Western countries donate to the COVAX facility, which will then distribute it to less-developed nations.
Robredo said those jumping the cue are putting in peril WHO’s vaccine allocation for the Philippines since one of the conditions of the donation is to follow the organization’s prioritization list of giving the jabs to health care workers first.
“So, iyong pakiusap ng mga doctor na sana naman masunod iyong priority list (So, the request of the doctors is to follow the priority list,” the lady official stressed.
The order of priority list is as follows: health care workers, seniors, people with co-morbidities, and uniformed personnel.
However, several governnment and local officials and even a son of a popular celebrity apparently cut in line to get the first dose.
Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, Minglanilla Mayor Elanito Peña, Alicia Mayor Victoriano Torres, San Miguel Mayor Virgilio Mendez, and Lila Mayor Arturo Piollo II were all inoculated despite not being health care workers.
Interior and Local Government Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya also received his COVID-19 jab.
The officials said they decided to get the vaccine to boost the confidence of their constituents, but WHO already warned the country against not following the priority list.
It said that the Philippines may be asked to reimburse the COVAX facility if it’s proven that people not on the priority list were inoculated.