Rizal officials urge nat'l gov't to fast-track vaccine approval

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2021 03:52 PM

Discarded vials of vaccinations against COVID-19 are seen as Israel continues its national vaccination drive, during a third national COVID lockdown, at a Maccabi Healthcare Services branch in Ashdod, Israel, Dec. 29, 2020. Amir Cohen, Reuters/File

RIZAL - Local government officials of Rizal province are appealing to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the Department of Health (DOH) to speed up the process of approval for COVID-19 vaccines as they have already earmarked local funds for procurement.

Antipolo City government spokesperson Dr. Jun Ynares said they already had P300 million on standby for the purchase of vaccines from AstraZeneca, which will cover 380,000 to 400,000 individuals.

“Ang nakalaan ngayon is P300 million. Ang target natin ay ma-cover lahat ng puwede because may mga ibang institutions na nagsasabi na kuwestiyonable pa 'yong pagbabakuna sa minors. Basta, susunod kami sa national task force at DOH,” Ynares said.

(We have allocated P300 million for now. Our target is to cover all allowed [in the immunization] because some institutions are saying vaccinating minors is still questionable. We will follow the national task force and DOH.)

Ynares acknowledged that vaccine procurement would still be coursed through the national government.

“'Yong panawagan po namin sa DOH, kung maaari, ang mga kailangan na papeles para tumakbo ang process, tumakbo na, kasi ang commitment ng manufacturer or supplier, third quarter dadating. Kung humaba pa ang proseso, 'yong third quarter, baka maging Pasko pa,” Ynares said.

(We appeal to the DOH to fast-track the process because instead of starting the program during the third quarter, it might end up on Christmas.)

The provincial government has likewise reserved P300 million for the vaccination program of all 14 towns, even those with zero active case.

Vice Governor Reynaldo San Juan, Jr. said that while all towns were allotting funds for the vaccine, the provincial government would shoulder the remainder of expenses of smaller municipalities.

“'Yon ang isang possibility, na ang tulong na ibibigay ay hindi pare-pareho. May mga bayan na mas maraming bakuna na ibibigay namin dahil sa kakayahan,” San Juan said.

(It's a possibility that the amount of help that will be given is not the same. Other towns may get more vaccines because they can afford to buy more.)

Taytay Mayor Joric Gacula said P50 to 60 million from their internal revenue allotment would be spent for COVID-19 vaccine.

“Siyempre, priority namin, kalusugan ng mga kababayan namin. If worst comes to worst, wala maibigay ang national, ay bibili kami para mabakunahan ang mga kababayan sa Taytay,” Gacula said.

(Our constituents' health is our priority. If worst comes to worst, we will procure our own vaccines for Taytay, if the national government will not be able to provide us.)

Residents of Antipolo City and Taytay have mixed reactions on whether they will have themselves inoculated as soon as their local governments have purchased the vaccine.

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