Espinoza: Set aside politics in Covid-19 vaccination

Elias L. Espinoza
·3 min read

POLITICS should not play a part in the administration of the Covid-19 vaccines especially for the health workers and the frontliners because they needed it most. With only about 13 months to go before the May 9, 2022 presidential polls, some Juan dela Cruzes cannot but express concern or doubts that the immunization against this coronavirus might be utilized as vehicle for the vested interests of the cheeky politicians.

The Cebu city Vaccine Advisory Board (VAB) is experiencing problem on where to hold the vaccination for the barangay health workers (BHWs) in the south district. Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama, the chair of the city's VAB, does not allegedly want to hold the inoculation at the Don Bosco Youth Training Center (DBYTC) in Barangay Punta Princesa for several reasons even after conducting the simulation on March 19, 2021, said City Councilor David Tumulak. The AstraZeneca vaccine will allegedly expire in six days.

The Department of Help (DOH) has given all the regions until today, March 23, to complete the administration of the vaccine or, else it will be recalled and it will be distributed in the National Capital Region (NCR) where the rate of infection is even higher than last year. But it was reported that yesterday, March 22, was the deadline set by DOH-Central Visayas Director Jaime Bernadas to finish the vaccination in the region.

If the Cebu city officials could not find the suitable place for the vaccination, it would be a huge missed opportunity for the BHWs and healthcare workers in public and private clinics who will benefit from the 1,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that the DOH delivered to the Cebu City Government. It would also mean that the Cebu City Government officials and politicians are pussyfooting their action for reasons of their own.

The DBYTC is in Barangay Punta Princesa. Are the barangay officials in Punta Princesa not aligned with the party in power at City Hall? Just asking and no malice intended. I wish Councilor Tumulak could quickly negotiate with the management of SM in SRP and allow the City Government to utilize the empty spaces in the mall before the AZ vaccines would expire or, recalled by the DOH and to be administered in the NCR.

I wonder if Cebu City's VAB of Vice Mayor Rama has the QSL (quick substitution list) that Mandaue City Councilor Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, a physician, prepared that in the event that Mandaue City's BHWs and the frontliners will not pass the screening during the vaccination, they will be substituted by those in the QSL since time is of the essence in this kind of vaccine.

The Mandaue City Health Office (MCHO) received the 300 doses of AZ vaccine, said City Health Officer Dr. Dominga Obenza. She said these vaccines will be administered to the MCHO staff, BHWs, contract tracers and personnel of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO). The Mandaue City Government on March 11, 2021 already administered the AZ vaccines for the medical workers in the public and private hospitals.

Look at the big difference with how the vaccination program is managed by the professional doctors and not by politicians. I could have missed the news story, but I am yet to hear or read the news that Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes or any of his fellow elected officials encountered problems in the administration of the Covid-19 vaccines to those in the A list. The QSL of Councilor Soon-Ruiz is a good innovation to avoid the loss of time and resources considering that these vaccines have a short life span.