No reason to dillydally vaccine distribution in provinces, Duterte tells gov't task force

Published June 22, 2021, 11:13 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

As the country receives more coronavirus vaccines from suppliers, President Duterte has ordered authorities to “move faster” with the distribution of life-saving jabs to the people, especially in Mindanao.

President Duterte delivers a public address from Davao City on June 21, 2021 (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

The President pushed for a swifter vaccine rollout during a televised address Monday, June 21, after expressing concern about the surge in cases of infections in Mindanao.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier reported to the President that Mindanao has become the highest contributor to the country’s total daily cases of coronavirus. The country reported 5,249 cases of infections Monday, which pushed the total cases to 1,364,239. The coronavirus data included 55,847 active cases and 23,749 deaths.

“I hope that you’d move faster kasi as — ang ano kasi dito is… Well, as long as we have the supply in steady manner, there is no reason why we should also dilly-dally in the distribution of the vaccines in the provinces,” the President told the government’s task force in charge of addressing the pandemic in Davao City Monday.

Prior to the President’s comments aired live on state television, Duque presented a report the country’s cases have plateaued except for Mindanao that recently accounted the bulk of daily infections. He called for intensified COVID preventive measures, including increase in critical health care resources, to stem the case sure in Visayas and Mindanao.

The President then asked Duque for a list of the allocation of coronavirus vaccines in every province in the country. The health chief told the President about the vaccine allocation plan, including raising the vaccine supply in areas experiencing COVID case spike.

“Kasi I’m just wondering there are — in Mindanao, sabi mo, it has surpassed the number of cases doon sa Luzon. Sa dito sa Mindanao, ilan na ang napadapa — nabigyan ng bakuna? (In Mindanao, how many have been given the vaccines?),” Duterte asked Duque.

Duque deferred to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to provide details about the vaccine distribution in the provinces.

More than 2 million people have so far been fully vaccinated since the government embarked on the free inoculation drive last March. The list of vaccinated persons consisted mostly of health workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidity. The government has started to vaccinate the country’s essential workers this month.

The country has already received around 14.2 million doses of coronavirus vaccines and is expected to get another 4 million jabs before the end of the month.