Espinoza: Set aside politics in the Covid-19 vaccination

Elias L. Espinoza
·2 min read

Politics should not play a part in the administration of the Covid-19 vaccines, especially for health workers and the frontliners because they need it most. With only 13 months to go before the May 9, 2022 presidential polls, some Juan dela Cruzes cannot but express concern or doubts that the immunization program might be used for the vested interests by cheeky politicians.

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

The Department of Health (DOH) has given the regions until March 24 to complete the administration of the vaccines or else they will be recalled and distributed in the National Capital Region (NCR) where the rate of infection is even higher than last year’s. But it was reported that March 23 was the deadline set by DOH 7 Regional Director Jaime Bernadas to finish the vaccination in Region 7.

If the Cebu City officials could not find a suitable place for the vaccination, it would be a huge missed opportunity for the BHWs and health care workers in public and private clinics who ware supposed to benefit from the 1,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that the DOH delivered to the City. It would also mean that officials and politicians are pussyfooting for reasons only they know.

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 the South Road Properties and allow the use of empty spaces before the AZ vaccines expire or are recalled.

I wonder if Cebu City’s VAB of Vice Mayor Rama has a QSL (quick substitution list), which Mandaue City Councilor Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, a physician, prepared so that in the event that Mandaue City’s BHWs and the frontliners fail the screening, substitutes can take their place since time is of the essence on this kind of vaccine.

The Mandaue City Health Office (MCHO) received 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. (For full text, visit: www.sunstar.com.ph)