A FORMER secretary of the Department of Health (DoH) has hit the alleged preferential treatment in the unsystematic distribution of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccines.
House senior Deputy Minority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, a former Health secretary, questioned the supposed “palakasan system” where areas visited by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez and testing czar Vince Dizon got vaccines.
Garin said a scientific method of vaccine distribution should be implemented without supposed politics, adding that concerned people should stop pointing to DoH as the one in charge of the vaccine distribution.
“Why don’t we give the vaccines because that is for prevention? And why do we base it on who calls you up, who is a friend of whom or who is angry? There’s no problem with that, but not at the expense of other areas that are wanting vaccines and other beneficiaries who need their second dose,” Garin told reporters in a press conference.
She said vaccines should be released in areas with or without surges of COVID-19 cases, adding it should be designed for prevention and the release should be based on the ability and efficiency of local government units (LGUs) to implement the vaccination program.
“What is happening is that if you call them up, Dizon and Galvez will visit you and your area gets vaccines. If they cannot visit your area, you will have to wait,” Garin said after Galvez told her to wait because the government has been prioritizing areas with surges of COVID-19 cases.
“I cannot submit to the order of Galvez to wait for your turn, we are just catering to cities with surges,” Garin lamented.
“Ang sa akin lang, bilang isang nanay, bilang isang doktor, now is not the time to distribute based on wants. Siyempre kapag di napuntahan ‘yung lugar mo, hindi ka mabibigyan ng bakuna, kung hindi mo sila matawagan, hindi ka mabibigyan ng bakuna. Nauubos ang oras sa tawagan, hindi nagiging systematic,” Garin stressed.
“Bakit natin hihintayin na magkaroon ng maraming kaso bakit hindi natin ibigay ‘yung bakuna because that is for prevention. At bakit kailangan kung sino ang tatawag, kung sino ‘yung kaibigan or kung sino ‘yung nagagalit dun ka… walang problema kung pagbigyan ‘yun but not at the expense or other areas who are wanting vaccines,” Garin pointed out.
“That is not how our vaccines should work. Vaccines are supposed to be for prevention. Remember that if we are going to base it on the number of cases in a certain place, then we should no longer isolate. Let’s just allow the cases to increase so that we could also be entitled to more vaccines. Clearly, this is a big disincentive,” she said.
Garin also explained that vaccine distribution should be based on the population of a LGU.
“What is the percentage of your population to the total population of the entire country…. If you have a population of let say 10 million at yung population ng Pilipinas 100 million so you will get 10% of every allocation that arrives in our country in that way ‘yung bawat bayan, ‘yung bawat city will not allocate it based on the priority on the grounds,” Garin said.
Out of the 18 million doses of vaccines that arrived in the country, around 10 million have been administered.
There were a number of LGUS that decided to suspend their vaccination program due to lack of vaccines.