National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. assured lawmakers that high-risk areas in Mindanao, particularly those which are experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases will get more vaccines.
“The National Task Force against COVID-19 would like to assure our honorable members of the Congress that we will not neglect the regions, especially those in Mindanao, in our vaccine deployment,” Galvez said.
“Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to deploy more vaccines to the regions, we will immediately send more vaccines in Mindanao as soon as the rest of the deliveries arrive this month,” he added.
For the month of June, the country has so far received over 4.3 million vaccine doses, bringing to 12,705,870 the total number of vaccine doses the Philippines has received since February.
Around six million more vaccine doses from different manufacturers are expected to arrive this month.
“The bulk of our vaccine shipments only started to arrive 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.
During the interpellation, Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez lamented the lack of vaccines in his locality despite the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Because of this 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 delay in vaccine deployment, as he gave the assurance that areas such as Cagayan de Oro City will soon be receiving additional vaccine doses.
“We apologize for the shortage of vaccine supplies for the past weeks. But we will definitely increase the allocations… I would like to let the people in Mindanao understand na hindi po natin iniiwan ang Mindanao. We will address ang concern natin,” Purisima said.