If, by some surreal notice, the Covid vaccines are ready to be shipped to Cebu tomorrow—just how ready is our side of the world to receive, distribute and administer them? Do our major cities have their vaccine rollout plan ironed out?
Had Cebu City’s executive department been proactive in coming up with a comprehensive vaccine procurement and rollout plan as early as when pharmaceutical companies were still in the race to complete their tests, there would not have been a need for a Councilor Alvin Dizon to keep banging the Council for a Covid vaccination program (CVP).
To recall, Dizon filed before the City Council on Dec. 16, 2020 a draft ordinance entitled “Covid-19 Vaccination Program Ordinance of Cebu City.” The draft ordinance provided for heavy community partnership and data-driven intervention.
Dizon’s measure also mandates the creation of the “Multisectoral Covid-19 Vaccination Program Council,” which will be tasked to oversee the planning and implementation of the vaccination program. The mayor will head the body while the Council’s health committee chair will be second lead. All in all, Dizon’s draft laid out pretty much the specifics already, including schedule and venues for vaccination, and on top, mandating the City Health Department to formulate the implementing rules and regulations for the CVP.
Had foresight and execution been the Cebu City Government’s foremost talents, we would have by now the mayor proudly publicizing its comprehensive plan. If the City can read the public, it would have thought that that would make a more interesting announcement than the P100,000 reward for Covid-free barangays because, really, what would the latter mean to ordinary citizens anyway.
Other cities beat us to it. Makati City, for instance, had already set P1 billion for vaccine procurement. “Makatizens” can pre-register online after the City had set up a system under its comprehensive vaccination program to ensure a more systematic and safe implementation. Quezon City, on the other hand, also had allocated P1 billion for its vaccine program. The City is set to sign in the next few days with a leading supplier for its program’s first phase, which will prioritize vulnerable sectors. Like in the case of a more systematic and innovative contract tracing system, the City has to seek the expert advice of someone from far north of the country.
Cebu City, which has twice the population of Makati City has, in its 2021 budget, initially set P500 million for vaccine purchase. On Dec. 15, 2020, the mayor said the money is covered by a supplemental budget in January. But, as of now, we hear from Dizon alone a more meticulous plan of a vaccination rollout. And what of the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu?