Mindanao to get more COVID-19 vaccines â Galvez
Residents are screened and vital signs are checked for their first jab of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine as part of the vaccine roll out program of the local government at the Ramon Magsaysay High School grounds in Manila on Monday, May 17, 2021.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, file

Mindanao to get more COVID-19 vaccines — Galvez

Roel Pareño, Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With more doses of COVID-19 vaccines expected to arrive in the country this month, high-risk areas in Mindanao will get more vaccines, National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said yesterday.

“The National Task Force against COVID-19 would like to assure our honorable members of Congress that we will not neglect the regions, especially those in Mindanao in our vaccine deployment,” Galvez said.

He was reacting to the call of Mindanao lawmakers for an equitable distribution of vaccines.

Galvez said six million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines will arrive before the end of this month aside from the 4.3 million doses that were delivered in the past two weeks.

“The bulk of our vaccine shipments started to arrive only in May. The vaccine deployment was based on the government’s risk assessment as well as our prioritization categories for the most vulnerable populations,” Galvez said.

At a House committee on Mindanao affairs hearing on the vaccine rollout, testing and other aspects of the government’s COVID-19 response on Monday, Cagayan de Oro second district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez lamented the lack of vaccines in his city despite a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Because of the lack of vaccines, deaths have been reported daily in Mindanao… battleground cities ito and yet wala pang vaccines,” Rodriguez said.

Undersecretary Isidro Purisima, who represented Galvez during the hearing, apologized for the shortage of vaccine deliveries in the past weeks.

”We will definitely increase the allocation… hindi po natin iniiwan ang Mindanao. We will address their concern,” Purisima said.

He said 1,735,630 doses were delivered to Mindanao as of June 14.

Meanwhile, Department of Health-Zamboanga peninsula assistant regional director Augusto Manolo Alpichi said the 35,100 doses of Pfizer vaccines that arrived on Tuesday would not be available to many areas in the region due to its handling requirements.

Regional medical officer Aaron Jess Khalil Curay said they would start the rollout of Pfizer vaccines in Zamboanga City and then in areas that are able to store and transfer the vaccines according to specifications.

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