Briones: Vaccination hitch

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

I THOUGHT the problem the Cebu City Government faced when it started the vaccine rollout for senior citizens on Monday, April 19, 2021, was that there weren’t enough takers.

That may have been true in the beginning.

If I remember correctly, less than 800 showed up at the two vaccination sites at the University of Cebu Banilad campus and the Robinsons Galleria on the first day.

Cebu City is home to over 80,000 senior citizens, but only close to 15,000 registered to be vaccinated. That’s less than 20 percent who signed up to receive the first dose of the two-dose vaccine.

To convince them to change their minds, I even wrote about a friend’s suggestion, which is withhold their cash assistance if they refuse to be inoculated.

Maybe some had read my column or had a change of heart because the number of seniors who trooped to the vaccination sites grew over the next two days.

Then on Thursday, April 22, Dr. Jeffrey Ibones, officer-in-charge of the City Health Department (CHD), said he was worried about the City’s supply of vaccines.

“Hopefully, the DOH (Department of Health) will give us more vaccines para maka-rollout gyud ta’g maayo kay makita man nato sa atong statistics (so our rollout can proceed without a hitch),” he said.

On the same day, the City opened a third vaccination site at the SM Seaside City at the South Road Properties.

City Councilor Dave Tumulak also announced that the City, in partnership with SM, will open a fourth vaccination site at the SM City Cebu at the North Reclamation Area “to cater to more individuals and to fast-track the vaccination rollout.”

As we all know, it turned out that it was all rhetoric because at noon on Friday, April 23, or the very next day, the City suspended the vaccination of senior citizens.

It said it had exhausted its supply of more than 5,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine.

Tumulak said the vaccinations will resume as soon as the DOH 7 delivers a new batch

of vaccines.

Mind you, I am not blaming the City Government for the current hitch. I know it is at the mercy of the national government when it comes to the supply of vaccines. And it’s not as if Dr. Ibones didn’t give the public the heads-up. He did say back on Monday that the CHD only had 4,600 doses, not 5,000, on hand.

Again, after hearing Tumulak talk, you’d have believed the City had an inexhaustible supply.