Now that Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez has released the schedule estimates for the arrival of vaccines from abroad and their deployment to the people, Senator Christopher “Bong” calls on the National Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and its local counterparts to strictly observe the rollout protocol.
In a privilege speech before the Senate, Go urged especially the local government units to follow the order of priority so as not to jeopardize success of the vaccine program, as it had come to his attention that some who were not health frontliners were allegedly inoculated ahead.
“The system is clear and simple. Pagkatapos mabakunahan ang ating frontliners, isusunod na natin agad ang mga senior citizens dahil sila ang isa sa mga vulnerable sa sakit na ito at kinakailangan din nilang lumabas ng bahay. Pagkatapos nila ang mga essential workers naman at mga mahihirap,” Go said.
“Pero paano natin matatapos bakunahan ang mga frontliners kung may mga sumisingit sa priority list? Huwag nating unahan ang health workers sa bakuna dahil ang pagbabakuna sa kanila ang tanging paraan upang masigurong hindi bumagsak ang ating health care system.” he added.
Go criticized the practice of favor-seeking in some local government units to gain priority access to the vaccines. The Senator said that he will support efforts to investigate such practice.
“Kamakailan lang, nakarating po sa akin na nagkakaroon ng pabor-pabor kapag nakarating na ang mga bakuna sa mga LGUs. Doon nakakalusot ang mga pa-VIPs. Hindi po ito katanggap-tanggap. Sino ba ang nagpapalusot nitong mga pabor-pabor na ito?” Go said.
Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded government officials not to breach the priority list, citing a call of the World Health Organization (WHO) that the government should respect the prioritization list for vaccinees to ensure a continued supply of Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax Facility.
She recalled World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus chastising rich nations for seeking to inoculate their entire populations against the Covid-19 virus at the expense of lives in poorer countries, describing the inequitable distribution of vaccines as “becoming more grotesque every day.”
She said Ghebreyesus noted that countries that are now vaccinating younger, healthier people at low risk of disease are doing so at the cost of the lives of health workers, older people and other at-risk groups in other countries putting the world is on “the brink of a catastrophic moral failure, the price for which would be the lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries.”
Go also announced that the Department of Interior and Local Government has already issued show cause orders to some local chief executives for getting the Covid-19 vaccines ahead of those in the priority list.
“Kung sinunod ng ating mga opisyal ang order of priority at walang pabor-pabor na nangyari. Nasa inyo na ‘yan kung paano ninyo ipapaliwanag ang inyong desisyon. Wala namang masama kung gusto ninyong i-encourage ang mga constituents ninyo to increase their vaccine confidence, pero tapusin na muna ‘yung mga frontliners at gumamit lang kung meron mang sobra,” he added.
Go said that he would have wanted to get vaccinated in public, too, to encourage more Filipinos to get vaccinated. He, however, chose not to in order to give way to frontliners who need the vaccines the most.
“Ako rin naman, kung pwede nga lang, gusto ko rin magpabakuna sa harap ng publiko para itaas ang kumpyansa ng tao. Pero bago ang lahat, dapat muna nating intindihin ang layunin ng polisiya natin,” Go said.