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No free vaccines for gov’t officials

Keith A. Calayag

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A lawmaker has appealed to the Duterte administration to not include high ranking government officials in the free vaccine plan.
Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun made the suggestion after the the Duterte administration announced that it will purchase P20 billion worth of vaccines once the same becomes available. 
 
President Rodrigo Duterte said the poor and the middle income classes shall be prioritized in the free vaccine distribution plan. 
 
“Sa free vaccines for 20 million Filipinos, hindi dapat kasama kahit sinong opisyal ng gobyerno at kanilang pamilya, elected man o appointed o career official na may ranggong division chief pataas hanggang Pangulo,” said Fortun. 
 
“Personal na gastos dapat nila ang kanilang COVID-19 vaccine. Matataas ang kanilang sweldo at income, so kaya nilang magpabakuna sa pribadong sektor gamit ang sariling pera,” he added. 
Fortun however said the government should include barangay health workers. 
 
“Puro mahihirap ang barangay health workers at kasama sila sa vulnerable sectors, so dapat kasama sila sa free vaccines for the 20 million Filipinos.” 
 
Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffino Biazon for his part suggested that once a vaccine is ready, the government should prioritize the medical frontliners. 
 
“Should a safe and proven vaccine becomes available, it would be advisable to prioritize the medical frontliners in order to ensure that they are safe and protected as they attend to those who are stricken by the virus.” 
 
“It is definitely impossible to vaccinate the entire population immediately even if the vaccine is already available and it will take time to be able to achieve that.”
 
Biazon said there is greatest danger during a pandemic is when a country’s healthcare system is overwhelmed. 
 
“If a big number of medical frontliners fall victim to the virus, then the capability of the healthcare system to meet the demands brought about by the virus wreaking havoc on the population becomes seriously diminished.” 

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