National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Tuesday said the vaccination of local chief executives against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will start once the country acquires more supply of vaccines.
“I hope they understand. Please be patient because yesterday, we had a heated discussion in Malacañang about that and our President has decided to prioritize our healthcare workers first and tell the mayors maybe when we have more vaccines they can start to be vaccinated),” Galvez said in Filipino during the rollout of the vaccination of medical front-liners at the Marikina Sports Complex.
This came after Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, who was also present at the event, said he wanted to be among the first to be inoculated with Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine but was not allowed to do so by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“Right now, our healthcare workers come first. We plan to finish first the inoculation of 1.7 million health workers nationwide,” Galvez told Teodoro.
Galvez explained that once they start vaccinating mayors, all other mayors will have themselves vaccinated too which may compromise the slots for healthcare workers.
While he understands the situation, Teodoro said he only wants to get inoculated to allay the fears of his constituents on the safety of the vaccines.
“I am 50 years old so by age, I am qualified. Yesterday, based on profiling and medical eligibility, I am qualified to get inoculated and I was also asked about my preferred vaccine. I said I can get inoculated with whatever vaccine is available because it is approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and can already be used,” Teodoro said.
Teodoro said convincing the people to get vaccinated remains a challenge as Filipinos are known to be brand conscious even in choosing medicines and vaccines.
“The refusal of a healthcare worker to get a vaccine based on brand does not mean that they will be disqualified from getting other available vaccines that will be rolled out,” he noted.
He underscored the importance of the vaccine in the fight against Covid-19 and to achieve the goal of returning to normalcy as soon as possible.
Four doctors of the ARMMC — Dr. Emerson U. Chua, Dr. Flordeliza F. Grana, Dr. Alih Bryan T. Catis, and Dr. Rocky R. Dizon — were among those who were inoculated during the ceremonial rollout of the Covid-19 jabs in the city. (PNA)