Manila Mayor Isko Moreno did not mince words against the national government over the slow delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to his city.
In an online briefing on Tuesday, May 11, Moreno said that out of the 2.5 million vaccine doses from China’s Sinovac that have arrived in the Philippines since April 22, his local government unit (LGU) has only received 8,400 doses so far.
He added that his city has yet to receive its share of jabs from the shipment of more than 2 million vaccine doses from Astrazeneca that arrived in the Philippines on May 8. Over 7,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, meanwhile, arrived in the city Tuesday night.
“Iyong milyon-milyong bakuna na nailathala sa dyaryo, wala pong dumarating sa amin. Remember, Manila is one of the densest cities in terms of population per square kilometer,” Moreno said.
(The millions of vaccine doses announced in the papers – none of them have gotten to us.)
“Hindi ko alam kung pinatutubuan pa nila sa kanilang refrigerator itong mga bakunang ito,” he quipped.
(I don’t know if they’re still busy germinating the vaccines in their refrigerators.)
Moreno also took an apparent swipe at the Department of Health over press releases that the delivery of vaccines to LGUs was ongoing or had been made.
“Huwag kayong magpapaniwala na ide-deliver sa ganito, ide-deliver sa ganyan. Kami rin nakakatanggap ng text sa partikular na ahensya na iyon. Pero hindi totoo iyon,” Moreno said.
(Don’t believe it when they say that the vaccines are being delivered to this place and that place. We’ve also received texts from that particular agency, but it’s not true.)
For example, on April 26, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said a new batch of Sinovac vaccines had been delivered or was being delivered to LGUs within the day, but Manila received that particular batch only three days later.
The apparently frustrated mayor added that someone should be held accountable for the slow vaccine rollout.
“There must be somebody who’s going to be liable. Because if you believe vaccination is the solution to start the economy, the vaccines should not stay in the refrigerators for so long,” Moreno said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Manila, the Philippine capital, is the second most populous city in the National Capital Region, and is home to over 1.78 million people as of 2015, according to national figures.
More than two months since the city began its immunization drive, around 84,000 residents have been administered with at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot.
In April, Malacañang said paperwork issues stalled the delivery of China’s Sinovac vaccines to local government units.
At the time, city-wide vaccinations of Manila were suspended due to a shortage of vaccines. — Rappler.com
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