President Duterte has asked Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to accommodate the “desperate calls” of some local government units (LGUs) for additional coronavirus (COVID-19) cases due to the surge of cases in different areas in the country.
Duterte made the statement after different parts of the country saw a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases that led to some areas, including Metro Manila, to revert to stricter quarantine classifications.
In his meeting with some members of the government’s pandemic task force late Saturday, July 24, Duterte asked Galvez what the government can do to address the plight of some LGUs.
“Many local government units are desperately asking for additional [vaccines]. There’s a strong upsurge of [cases] — in places like Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan, Agusan. So kindly tell us what we should be doing to — hinihingi nila ng bakuna, eh (They’re asking for more vaccines),” he said.
“Bacolod is one. The mayor there is asking for more. So when can we accommodate them with sufficient vaccines at this time?” he added.
In response, Galvez said the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 has made an assessment that there was a need to increase the monthly delivery of vaccines in response to the clamor of some LGUs for more shots.
“We saw that there is really a great uptake already for many LGUs and we saw that many provincial governors and also mayors are already prepared for the vaccination of their targeted individuals,” he said.
Galvez told the President that there was no let-up in the distribution of vaccines even during the rainy days. He even showed a photo of people lining up in the flood waiting for their shot.
This, however, did not sit well with the Chief Executive, saying the problem was not with the vaccine supply but with how LGUs handled the situation.
Duterte added that LGUs should come up with a solution as the current situation exposed the public to more health risks other than COVID-19.
“It has to take into account the weather now and the place where they should be waiting. That ought not to be repeated, I suppose. Kawawa yung tao (The people are pitiful),” he said.
As of July 21, a total of 15,953,911 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered with 5,231,469 individuals receiving the required two doses since the vaccination program started on March 1.