After Iloilo City, Albay also calls for more COVID-19 vaccine doses
This May 2021 photo shows vaccination efforts ongoing in Albay province. Gov. Al Francis Bicharra on June 23 called for more supplies from the national government.
Facebook/Albay PIO

After Iloilo City, Albay also calls for more COVID-19 vaccine doses

(Philstar.com) - June 23, 2021 - 6:58pm

MANILA, Philippines — Albay Gov. Al Francis Bicharra on Wednesday sought for some 40,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the national government, lamenting the lack of supply in the province that is fighting an uptick in infections. 

The governor over Laging Handa said they have received only 6,000 doses so far out of the 46,000 that they need to inoculate those in the priority list. 

His appeal came days after another local chief executive, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, called on the Duterte administration for more doses as the area also deals with increasing cases.

"Our problem is that there are only a few vaccines arriving," Bicharra said in Filipino. "We definitely need this to stop the spread of the virus."

Bicharra said the province has 1,958 active cases. Since March 2020, he said Albay has kept its overall count of infections to more than 4,000 out of a 1.3 million population, but is now seeing more due to the surge.

"Local transmission of the virus is happening especially among government personnel," he added in Filipino, along with other essential workers such as bank tellers and cashiers.

The province is under General Community Quarantine. Last week, Bicol doctors urged the pandemic task force to return the region to Enhanced Community Quarantine, warning that the uptick may result in a situation similar to India.

Bichara said they do not support the call and described it as "exaggerated." He added that residents fear too that their livelihood would be affected anew from stricter curbs.

"Compared with other areas, the situation here is not as bad to put it under ECQ," the governor said. "People don't want it as they have only enough to get by." 

Inoculation efforts in the country are still on those in the government's priority list — or health workers, senior citizens, those with comorbidities, and frontline workers, which count some 35 million nationwide.

Over eight million doses have been administered since vaccinations began in March, with more than two million completing their shots. 

Apart from Albay and Iloilo City, lawmakers from Mindanao pressed have also pressed the Duterte administration to make the distribution of the jabs equal. 

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has since vowed to assure that more supplies would be sent to Mindanao.

Government has sought to prioritize sending supplies to the capital region and eight other areas, but said today that it would expand it to add two more regions to be known as "NCR Plus 10." — Christian Deiparine

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