After Malacañang said it welcomes her initiative to bring the vaccines closer to the people through her drive-through program, Vice President Leni Robredo asked on Sunday, July 4, if she can be given access to the country’s vaccine supply.
One of the problems of the president’s Vaccine Express project is access to vaccine doses.
“Malaking bagay kung meron kaming access. Mula nang nagstart kami sa Manila, ang daming LGU (local government unit) na nagcontact sa amin nagre-request kung pwedeng dalhin iyon Vaccine Express sa kanila (It’s a big thing for us to have access. Since we started in Manila, a lot of LGUs contacted us to request if we can bring the Vaccine Express there),” she said on her weekly radio show.
However, “kung hindi magpoprovide ng supply iyong partner LGU, hindi namin magagawa kasi wala kaming access (if the partner LGU cannot provide the supply, we won’t be able to do it because we do not have access).”
Robredo piloted the Vaccine Express’ drive-through vaccination program in Manila in partnership with Mayor Isko Moreno on June 22 and 23.
The two-day program inoculated more than 4,500 tricycle and pedicab drivers, as well as delivery riders.
Robredo said there will be a second part of that program which will target vendors.
Last week, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque welcomed the Vaccine Express initiative, saying that it has the support of President Duterte because it is a “further means” to bring the vaccines closer to the people.
Robredo, however, said that without access to the vaccines, their only capacitated to deploy vaccinators and other logistical needs.
But the LGUs themselves have to provide the vaccines.
“So sa amin, pag may humihingi sa amin ng tulong sasabihin lang na bahala kami sa supply, okay kami. Mas madali sa amin kung bigyan kami ng access (So for us, whenever someone says that they have the supply, we’re okay. It is easier for us if we have access),” Robredo added.
They are not asking for additional funds, the vice president clarified, because they are able to find ways for that. The more important thing is to have access to the vaccine.
After partnering with Manila, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) is set to roll out the Vaccine Express in Cagayan de Oro upon the request of House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez.
Robredo said they are “willing” to help LGUs as long as they have the vaccine supply. As with the case of Cagayan de Oro, it has to make a request from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases for the needed vaccine doses.