Local government units (LGUs) have no more excuse to justify their snail-pace vaccination process rate now that there is an overwhelming supply of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shots in the country, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has noted.
“Sobra-sobra po ang bakuna on the ground. I think, kung di ako nagkakamali, around 30 to 40 million plus ang nadistribute na sa iba’t ibang lokal na gobyerno (There are abundant supply of vaccines on the ground. I think if I am not mistaken, there are around 30 to 40 million plus vaccines that were distributed in the various local government units),’’ DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said over ABS-CBN News interview on Thursday, Nov. 4.
President Duterte earlier warned that local government units (LGUs) stand to face sanctions if they fail to expeditiously ramp up their COVID-19 vaccination drive as the COVID-19 vacine stockpile reached 49 million doses.
Duterte said he was dissatisfied with the COVID-19 vaccination program and even went to the extent of describing it as “weak’’ at the regional and provincial levels.
With this, Densing said the DILG has scheduled an emergency meeting with the mayors and governors on Friday to try and expedite the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
Outside Metro Manila, Densing disclosed that the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has the highest vaccination rate at 39 percent .
He noted that the other LGUs are only averaging more or less 30 percent while the Bangsamoro region only has a nine percent vaccination rate.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya previously emphasized that local officials and department heads risk themselves of facing charges for neglect of duty and misconduct for vaccine wastage or unjustified failure to ramp up the immunization program.
He added that the National Vaccination Operation Center (NVOC) is in the midst of preparing the operational guidelines for the rollout of the booster doses for the health workers, senior citizens, and imuno-compromised individuals.
The DILG spokesperson noted that the target is to administer the booster shots to 4.6 million senior citizens and 1.5 million health workers.