10 areas outside 'NCR Plus 8' among priorities for COVID-19 vaccine distribution - Malacañang

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2021 11:48 PM

MANILA - Ten areas outside NCR Plus 8, which are experiencing a spike in coronavirus infections, are now among the priorities for the government’s COVID vaccine deployment, according to Malacañang.

“Ang priority na po natin is Metro Manila Plus 8 Plus 10. 'Yung Plus 10 areas are the areas na nakaka-experience po ngayon ng surges. So we hear you, and there will be relief forthcoming,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Parañaque City Wednesday.

Roque did not say which areas are part of the “Plus 10”. 

SPUTNIK V COMPONENT 2 DELAY

Malacañang told recipients of Sputnik V’s Component 1 not to worry despite a delay in the delivery to the Philippines of the second component, which was expected third week of June.

“'Wag kayong mag-alala the delay will even increase the efficacy,” Roque said.

“Wala pong problema, in fact nagkaroon na po ng communication. ‘Yung EUA ng Sputnik V, papa-amyendahan po. Apparently, mas mataas po ang efficacy kung mas matagal yung period ng first dose at second dose. I think it would be almost the same as AstraZeneca na 12 weeks. So magpapa-amyenda nga po sila na mas ideal na mas matagal ang second dose. So wala pong epekto ‘yung kaunting delay. It will even be more ideal for efficacy na madelay ang second dose ng Sputnik V,” he explained.

Roque also responded to some criticisms that the government was late in negotiating to procure COVID-19 vaccines.

“Hindi po. We negotiated about the same time as everyone did. But money talks. ‘Yung mga nagbayad, nagbigay ng pera habang dine-develop pa lang ang vaccine, sila po siyempre ang unang nakakuha ng vaccine,” he said.

HERD IMMUNITY

The Philippines will not be among the last countries to achieve herd immunity in Asia, according to Malacañang.

“We will prove them wrong,” Roque said in response to a report by UK-based Pantheon Macroeconomics. The report said most Asian countries could achieve herd immunity by next year, except for the Philippines and Vietnam, where COVID vaccine rollout is lagging behind neighbors'.

“I think ang basehan kasi ng think tank na ‘yan must’ve been our pace of vaccination earlier, na talagang Sinovac lang ang mayroon tayo at kakaunting AstraZeneca. Pero dumating na nga po ang ating mga bakuna at mas marami pang darating,” Roque said.

He noted that the country’s COVID-19 vaccination has reached a new record at 350,000 jabs per day.

“It used to be 320,000, and this is just a matter of days. So nakikta n’yo talaga na we have the ability na mag-vaccinate. Ang talagang inaantay natin mas maraming supply… we are confident that we can hit 500,000 a day,” Roque said.

He added, the Philippines’ goal is to achieve COVID-19 containment and population protection within the year.

“It’s really achievable this December. We’re still aiming na at least when we go outdoors, it could be mask-less Christmas,” Roque said.

ISRAELI HEALTH EXPERTS IN PH

Health experts from Israel visited on Wednesday the COVID vaccination site in Solaire Resort and Casino, Parañaque City.

Roque said up to 6,000 individuals can be inoculated there daily. It will be used for the COVID vaccination of the private sector. 250,000 Moderna COVID vaccine doses are expected to arrive in the Philippines on June 27. This is part of the 20 million total Moderna jabs procured by the government and the private sector.

“This is significant. For the first time ang pribadong sektor, sila mismo ang magbabakuna ng mga empleyado nila. Can you imagine how much more faster the vaccination will be na nakipagtulungan na ang private sector using their own facilities?” Roque said.

“This is a gamechanger in the fight against COVID-19 dahil ‘yung inimport ng private sector through tripartite agreement ituturok sa kanilang empleyado using their own personnel,” he added.

ILOILO COMMENT

Roque assured Iloilo City that “help is forthcoming”. Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas previously scored him for remarks over the city's compliance with COVID-19 rules and its vaccine supply. 

Treñas earlier this week appealed for more COVID-19 shots from the national government, which prompted Roque to say that coronavirus surges are caused by neglect of health protocols and more infectious variants, and not the vaccine supply. 

The mayor in turn criticized Roque for supposedly finding fault instead of looking for ways to help.

“What I meant lang po talaga is bagama't nandyan na po ang bakuna, habang wala po tayong containment, wala pang population protection, wala pa rin pong alternative sa mask, hugas, iwas,” he said.

“Pero naiintindihan din po namin na ‘yung surges ay dahil sa mas matitinding variant na inexperience din ng Metro Manila,” Roque added.

“Ang pangako ko naman po sa aking kapwa Ilonggo, help is forthcoming. Nakipag-usap na po tayo kay Sec. Galvez, nakipag-usap na tayo sa private sector. Mayroon ding binili ang Iloilo, and I understand that even some private companies will send Moderna vaccines to Iloilo where their businesses are located,” he noted.

Roque also downplayed Treñas' comment that "his mouth runs faster than his brain.

“I’ve talked to Mayor Treñas... lambing po 'yan, because he knows I am an Ilonggo myself,” he said.

“Siguro po nakakairita, but it’s the truth. Habang wala pa tayong containment, mask, hugas at iwas pa rin. And maski batuhin na po ako ng tunay na bato, sasabihin ko pa rin ‘yan," Roque added.

RELATED VIDEO

Watch more on iWantTFC