At least 13 local officials have been asked by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to explain why they were vaccinated out of turn for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing 3rd said during a television interview on Wednesday the 11 mayors, one governor and one councilor got their shots despite not being medical frontliners, the first group prioritized for inoculation.
Only Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi City has responded to the DILG’s show-cause order, Densing said.
The DILG was also validating reports and photos showing other local officials, including barangay chiefs, who had been inoculated, he said.
Mayors who are senior citizens are authorized to receive their shots now that the vaccination of the elderly has begun, Densing said.
In Metro Manila, the vaccination effort has picked up momentum.
On Thursday, the Manila city government said it was midway in its target of inoculating persons with underlying conditions.
Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said as of Wednesday night, 6,137 persons with comorbidities were inoculated, more than half of the city’s initial target of vaccinating some 10,500 persons in that category.
“I am happy that we are achieving growth in terms of vaccination,” Domagoso said during his social media address. “Please continue to support your city government’s efforts and the national government’s goal of vaccinating people.”
Domagoso said Manila has administered 28,247 shots, including 13,730 shots for medical frontliners — with 302 frontliners getting their second dose of CoronaVac— 8,380 senior citizens, and 6,137 people with underlying conditions.
In Pasay City, 700 persons with comorbidities have received their Covid shots, according to a statement the city government sent to The Manila Times on Thursday.
“For those who haven’t had their shots, don’t worry because we have incoming vaccines from the national government aside from the AstraZeneca [vaccines] that we ordered,” Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano said in the statement.
The Pasay government aims to jab 1,640 individuals from different priority groups this week, after inoculating 8,095 health workers.
Under government guidelines those in the “comorbidity” category should present evidence of their condition, such as medical certificates not more than 18 months, doctors’ prescriptions not more than six months, and hospital or surgical records.
Local governments have administered Sinovac’s CoronaVac for medical frontliners and persons with underlying conditions aged 18 to 59, while AstraZeneca shots were prioritized for senior citizens.
Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go reminded Filipinos to maintain discipline, remain vigilant, and cooperate with the government in the face of rising Covid-19 infections.
Go also urged concerned government agencies to double down on their efforts to ease the burden on the public health system amid the Covid spike.
“We need to double our efforts to reduce further the waiting time for patients needing urgent treatment or admission, provide faster medical transport and patient pick-up, and facilitate much-improved use of critical care services in our health facilities,” he said.
Go, the chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, called on all agencies involved in the One Hospital Command system to intensify interventions and maximize resources for a more effective and efficient health facility referral system in Metro Manila and other critical areas in the country.
He also asked the national government and local government units to expand and improve the available quarantine and isolation facilities to lift the caseload in hospitals.
“While we exert efforts to improve the capacity and capabilities of our healthcare services, we also need to reiterate to our people that prevention is better than cure,” said Go.
Despite the low 1.8-percent Covid fatality rate in the country and 98.2 percent of the cases being mild or asymptomatic, Go said the people must remain vigilant.