Grace Poe

Poe seeks vax priority for COVID-19 hotspots

June 21, 2021 Marlon Purification 502 views

SENATOR Grace Poe on Monday exhorted the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to act with dispatch on the plea of Iloilo and other high-risk local governments to augment their resources for COVID-19 relief to treat the rising influx of patients.

The senator echoed the call of some local executives that areas outside the National Capital Region which are considered as COVID hotspots should also be prioritized in the vaccine distribution to contain the spread of the virus that have spilled over to several provinces.

“While there aren’t enough vaccines yet for everybody, those who need them most should get them first, including our people in the provinces like Iloilo,” she said.

In several areas experiencing COVID spike, hospitals are stretched way too thin as medical personnel, rooms, beds and every piece of equipment are being exhausted to attend to patients, reports have said.

In the case of her hometown Iloilo, Poe cited that the Iloilo Medical Society has sought the help of the national government over the need for more medicines, vaccines and medical frontliners, as hospital beds are filled to the brim and due reimbursements from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. are delayed.

“It is very difficult to battle COVID-19 infections once it is already there. As true with other diseases, prevention is still the best option to win this battle,” the group wrote in pushing for increased allotment of the vaccines.

Poe said the increasing COVID cases in the provinces that have reached an alarming level should be the cue to spread the vaccine fast.

“When the medical frontliners themselves have sounded off the distress signal, we must listen and act,” she said.

Iloilo province and Iloilo City are among the 19 areas under the modified enhanced community quarantine until the end of the month.

Since June, the province has reported over a hundred cases a day.

Poe called for immediate action in addressing the resource shortage in Iloilo as well as in areas bearing the brunt of the virus surge. At the same time, she said the critical areas should get more vaccines to arrest the virus spread and ease the pressure on the health systems of local government units.

“A number of hospitals in the provinces are gasping for air as COVID cases surge almost beyond their health system’s capacity,” Poe said.

“There is no greater pain than seeing patients who otherwise can be saved breathe their last due to lack of medical and health support,” she added.