Robredo seeks to decentralize, liberalize COVID-19 vax drive to reduce waste

Published October 24, 2021, 4:24 PM

by Raymund Antonio

The government should decentralize and liberalize vaccination efforts in light of the logistics problem that could result to wastage or expiration of vaccine doses in the country, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday, October 24.

(Vice President Leni Robredo/Facebook)

Speaking during her weekly radio show, Robredo emphasized the need to administer coronavirus shots for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) apart from the country’s health workers and senior citizens.

“Kung dito sa Manila naubos na ‘yung seniors, at saka naubos na ang health workers, sana ‘yung mga OFW. Halimbawa ‘yung mga seafarers natin, ang daming naghihintay (na)mabakunahan (If all seniors and health workers here in Manila are all vaccinated, I hope the OFWs are next. For example our seafarers, many of them are waiting for their inoculation),” she said.

The lady official noted the availability of United States’ Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that can be used by OFWs prior to their deployment abroad.

“Mayroon siyang temperature na kailangan. May mga lugar na hindi puwedeng padalhan kasi wala iyong storage requirements. Ako lang, kung may extrang ganito, i-prioritize na natin (These vaccines have temperature requirements. There are areas that can’t be given these vaccones because of storage requirements. For me, if we have extra like these, let us prioritize them),” Robredo said.

READ: Gov’t should address vaccine rollout as a logistics problem — Robredo

The Vice President made a suggestion that vaccination should be liberalized to expand coverage of the ongoing vaccination drive.

“Ang daming bakuna ngayon pero masyadong centralized, eh. Sana mas i-liberalize nila iyong mga kumpanya na mabukanahan na nila iyong kanilang mga employees. Sige na—iyong mga teachers na babalik sa paaralan, iyong mga kailangan nang bumalik sa trabaho, kailangang ma-deploy ulit. Sana ayusin na iyon (There are many vaccines now but it is very centralized. I hope they liberalize, so that companies can vaccinate their employees. The teachers going back to school, those who are returning work, those needed to be deployed again, I hope this could be fixed),” she said.

Meanwhile, Robredo said that health workers cannot be blamed if they want to seek “greener pastures” abroad because they are not being properly compensated in the country.

Some hospital administrators admitted to her that they have the hospital beds but lack the personnel to care for the patients.

“Iyon talaga hindi ko naiintindihan. Nakikita natin iyong Senate investigation, bilyon bilyon ‘yung anomalya pero ‘yung pinakabasic ng pangangailangan ng health workers hindi natutugunan. Hindi makatarungan (I cannot understand this. We can see in the Senate investigation, the anomalies go up to billions but we cannot address the basic needs of the health workers. It’s not justifiable),” Robredo lamented.

READ: Nurses’ group demands better pay, working conditions

She was referring to the Senate blue ribbon committee’s probe into the P10 billion worth of contracts it signed with Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Inc. over substandard medical supplies.

“Ang daming sinasayang na pera para sa kung anu-anong bagay. Ito yun pinakakailangan natin ngayon, hindi inaasikaso (They are wasting their time on nonsense things. This is the most important now, but they’re not addressing it),” she said.

Reports of low morale among health workers have been rampant since the pandemic last year as some of them have yet to receive their hazard pay from the Department of Health (DOH).

Some of those who received their pay got a measly P200 in exchange for exposing themselves to COVID-19 positive patients.

Several health facilities have already reported mass resignations due to their staff being overworked and underpaid. Many nurses also opted to go abroad where the pay is better.