THE Department of Health (DOH) 7 was forced to issue a clarification on Thursday, April 15, 2021, after several senior citizens showed up in one of the malls in Cebu City where a mass vaccination for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) was being conducted.
The senior citizens thought that if they went there they would be injected with the vaccine.
But instead they were turned down.
DOH 7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said the ongoing vaccination is only for medical frontliners.
She said the vaccines that they have available -- a total of 178,560 doses of Sinovac of which 44,400 arrived in Cebu only on Wednesday, April 14 -- are not even enough to cover the 131,781 eligible medical frontliners who have yet to be vaccinated.
Assuming all the medical frontliners in the region agree to be injected, the health department will need an additional 85,002 doses.
But based on the current trend, not all will subject themselves to the jab. In fact, a little over half of them have been vaccinated so far.
This is why in vaccination sites where everybody who needs to be vaccinated has been vaccinated, they can proceed with inoculating those who are next on the priority list. In this case, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities. Otherwise, all those unused vaccines will just go to waste.
The question is what are the senior citizens and persons with comorbidities who are willing to be vaccinated supposed to do? Should they wait for instructions from their barangay?
Loreche in her clarification did not say. She didn’t give any numbers they could contact, a website they could visit, or a Facebook page they could view.
She just said that Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and other local bishops who are 60 years old and above have already been jabbed. Which doesn’t clarify anything. It only adds to the suspicion that some people are getting special treatment.
So here’s what’s happening right now.
On one hand, you have a sizable number of people, who, for one reason or another, are turning down the chance to protect themselves and their loved ones from a disease that has gripped the nation for more than 12 months, and on the other, you have some senior citizens who want to reclaim what’s left of their lives after being forced to stay at home in the guise of isolating them from a virus that targets their segment of the population.
It’s no wonder some of them have become overeager and excited to be vaccinated.
It’s their chance to be integrated back into society after more than a year of being invisible.