ALBAY, Philippines – Catanduanes Governor Joseph “Boboy” Cua thanked Vice President Leni Robredo’s swift response to his appeal for COVID-19 vaccine supplies on Wednesday, December 1, saying her Vaccine Express would help trim the number of COVID-19 cases in the province.
Robredo flew to Catanduanes after visiting Ticao Island and Masbate City. She brought 100 vials or 1000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines for new registrants’ first dose and another 1000 doses for residents needing their second dose.
The aid arrived on the third and last day of the national government’s Bayanihan Bakunahan drive.
The Department of Health has included Bicol as among the regions lagging in vaccine coverage. Cua said that only 23% or 63,137 of the province’s 192,530 target population are fully vaccinated while 91,054 or 33% have received their first dose.
Cua had appealed for aid on November 15. He said Robredo replied within two days, promising to bring vaccine supplies.
Cua said the low vaccine coverage in his province was due to the slow pace of vaccine delivery.
Catanduanes has been battling high COVID-19 infection rates since August. When Cua posted his Facebook page appeal, the provincial health office had just reported 342 active cases. There are cases of the fast-spreading Delta variant in seven of the province’s 11 municipalities.
The Inter-Agency Task Force placed Catanduanes under Alert Level 4 from November 17, 2021 until November 30, 2021.
“And now with the Delta variant making its way to our municipalities, the expeditious vaccine rollout is the only way that will help mitigate and hopefully prevent its spread.” Cua said.
“We shall continue to ramp up the vaccination in order to achieve herd immunity and hopefully, prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he added.
“With only a few weeks until Christmas, the provincial government of Catanduanes urges every Catandunganon, including those in government agencies and private sectors to participate in the vaccination,” he said.
“Take this opportunity to ensure your family’s safety by getting vaccinated. Since the Christmas season is fast approaching, let us all play our part as responsible Catandunganons and offer your utmost cooperation to achieve herd immunity,” Cua said.
The two island provinces of Catandaunes and Masbate turned pink during Robredo’s two-day visit, with thousands of residents lining up on the streets to welcome the vice president.