Briones: The real problem

·2 min read

Cebu City’s vaccination program against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has been suspended yet again.

The reason is the same. It has run out of doses and awaits fresh delivery of the vaccine from the Department of Health 7.

There’s no point in playing the blame game because when it boils down to it, we are at the mercy of manufacturers and they are all based abroad.

Come to think of it, it’s not only Cebu City that is having the problem. Many countries around the world are also feeling the pinch.

Anyway, I know more vaccines will arrive. In due time. So I’m not so worried. I’m more concerned about the number of people who don’t want to be vaccinated. Because, let’s face it, what will happen if the national government does raise Cebu City’s vaccine allocation but then there are not enough takers?

Okay, maybe vaccine hesitancy is not so much a problem in Metro Cebu’s highly urbanized cities like Cebu City, but that is not the case in the rest of the island. I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth that only 20 percent are willing to be inoculated. If that’s the case, then the government has a much bigger problem on its hands than the lack of vaccines.

You see, it needs to vaccinate 70 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity.

In neighboring Mandaue City, barangay officials have been going house to house to convince residents to register for the City’s vaccination program.

They have been targeting the indigent population since many of them may not be able to register online or are simply not aware of the City’s vaccination efforts. Actually, they’re too polite to say that this is the segment of the population that needs the most convincing since they are the ones who are vulnerable to, how shall I put it, false information and old wives’ tales.

So far, Mandaue has managed to sign up an additional 70,000 people, which brings the total number to 154,000 who are willing to be vaccinated, but it still needs to register at least 140,000 more to achieve herd immunity.

Don’t be fooled by the lines you see outside vaccination centers throughout the metro.

Nine times out of 10, the doses being administered inside come from Pfizer or AstraZeneca or any brand other than the Chinese-manufactured Sinovac.

Apparently, many still don’t trust the latter. I don’t know whether it’s colonial mentality or just plain sinophobia, but the government needs to beef up its efforts to convince people that it doesn’t matter where the vaccine comes from. What’s important is to get the shot.

Once it can manage that, then it can worry about vaccine supply.

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