Briones: Waiting for an answer

Publio J. Briones III
·3 min read

WHEN will Cebuanos get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)?

The answer varies, depending on which local government unit (LGU) you ask.

Last month, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the Provincial Government would wait for the National Government to issue guidelines. After all, the final decision rests on the latter. And even if the LGU decides to buy a vaccine of its own choice, Manila still needs to be a party to the sale.

Anyway, she would rather focus on programs to help small businesses that have been affected by the economic downturn as a result of the long lockdown to prevent the spread of the disease.

In Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella initially said he would adopt a wait-and-see attitude, but he also announced that the City had allocated a P500 million budget for the purchase of vaccines.

Or something like that.

The City has also been saying that it is ready to buy the vaccines, which, as we all know, is not the same as having bought them. But hey, at least the Vaccine Board created by the mayor has made “exploratory talks” with Pfizer and AstraZeneca, which is tantamount to saying that it has made plans to contact the two pharmaceutical giants but hasn’t gotten round to it. Yet.

Actually, the word used was “negotiating.” Then again, I don’t really know. I’m just guessing. But if you ask me, I’d rather hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Meanwhile, the council, on mass motion, created a group of “convenors” to adopt a “plan of action” that will include disseminating information on the inoculation and overseeing the rollout and administering the vaccine.

Across the Mactan Channel, the Lapu-Lapu City Government said it would hold simulations to test its vaccination program.

City officials already met with the Department of Health (DOH) 7 to discuss who would get vaccinated first.

A city health officer also revealed that they have assigned composite teams to take charge of registration, counseling, screening, communication and vaccination. A team to monitor those who have been vaccinate will also be created.

The City’s vaccination task force crisis manager said they plan to buy medical grade deep freezers where they can store the vaccines, hopefully, the ones that don’t require a minus 70 Celsius temperature.

By the way, the Mandaue City Government last week said it would start profiling priority recipients, but only if the City’s Management Information Systems Office established a link with the DOH’s electronic immunization registration, which, at the time of writing, had yet to be made available to LGUs.

Not that there is any rush. The City had yet to identify the number of priority recipients as well as vaccination teams and vaccination sites.

Or maybe it has. Again, I’ve no idea. There hasn’t been any update.

But one thing is for sure, though. The LGUs in Metro Cebu are very good at announcing what they plan to do. As for actually doing what it is they say they will do, well, that’s another matter.

So what was the question again?