Malacañang explained that there was no inequality in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines in the country, saying it has always been based on science.
Roque made the statement after some local government units (LGUs) said the government was giving preference to the National Capital Region-plus (NCR-plus) bubble area when it comes to the vaccination program.
The NCR-plus bubble consists of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
In his press briefing on Thursday, June 10, Roque explained that the government was not playing favorites when it comes to the distribution of COVID-19 shots.
“Hindi naman po ito inequality kung hindi (This is not inequality but instead) it is based on science,” he said.
“Kung saan ang kuta, kung saan ang pinakamataas ang mga kaso ng COVID-19, ay bibigyan natin ng karagdagang supply dahil yung pagbabakuna nga po ay isang depensa laban sa lalo pang pagkalat ng COVID-19 (We give additional supply of vaccines to places with high COVID-19 cases because vaccination is one defense against the spread of the disease),” he added.
Meanwhile, Roque likewise pointed out that the NCR+ bubble getting the bulk of vaccine shipments was not something to be proud of.
“Hindi po karangalan na ang Metro Manila-plus. Dahil dito ang pinakamaraming kaso ng COVID, ay mas maraming nabibigay na bakuna (It is not an honor for NCR-plus. We give them a lot of vaccines because they have the most number of COVID-19 cases),” he said.
“It is not a badge of honor. It is a sad state of fact na marami pong kaso dito (that there are many people infected here),” he added.
Meanwhile, Roque said that the high number of COVID-19 cases in the NCR-plus bubble may be an indicator that people in the area were not religiously following health protocols of wearing of face mask, washing hands, physical distancing, and getting vaccinated.
The government is eyeing “population protection” in the NCR-plus bubble area by November 27. Population protection targets to vaccinate the members of the population who are more susceptible to the disease and are likely to show severe symptoms.
Last month, the Department of Health (DOH) said 36 percent of the country’s total number of vaccine doses were allocated to Metro Manila while 69 percent of the total number of Pfizer shots went to the said area.