HOUSE committee on health chairperson and Quezon Rep. Angelina Helen Tan has urged the Department of Health (DoH) to modify its policy in the deployment of coronavirus disease-19 vaccines, making the approach more preventive instead of seemingly reactive in the fight against the pandemic.
Tan, a doctor by profession, said it seems that the surge in cases in different provinces and cities is the main consideration of the DoH in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“I think the DoH should adjust its policy in the deployment of coronavirus vaccines to ensure a more effective battle against the pandemic. Vaccines should be distributed with or without surge in COVID-19 cases because the main objective is to control the infections,” Tan pointed out.
“Bakit natin hihintayin ang surge ng cases bago tayo magbigay ng bakuna? Dapat preventive ang approach para hindi kumalat ang infections,” Tan stressed. “Vaccines should be given not only to areas grappling with pandemic surges.”
She lauded President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte for doing everything to hasten vaccine distribution in the provinces as more local officials have been requesting the national government to deploy more vaccines to the provinces, citing the surge in COVID-19 cases in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“We laud the hard work of President Duterte in ensuring that more vaccines will be available to all Filipinos and that no one would be left behind,” Tan said.
Tan also explained that efforts to control the infections will go for naught unless vaccines are equitably distributed, stressing the surge in cases outside Metro Manila should be addressed with dispatch.
“While it is a very laudable act to control the infections in Metro Manila plus where densely populated cases are located, it would have been better if vaccines are equally distributed so that possible surge in different parts of the country will be prevented,” Tan said.
She also questioned the DoH’s policy of keeping buffer stocks of vaccines when these can be used to help prevent the infections.
“We are one with our government to ensure the successful fight against the pandemic. But I appeal to modify the DoH’s policy in the distribution of vaccines to make the campaign more effective,” Tan said.
The government had identified economic hubs Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao – known as National Capital Region plus eight – as priority vaccination areas.
Due to the increasing number of infections in other areas, 10 cities have been added to the list of priorities: Baguio, Tuguegarao, Naga, Legazpi, Bacolod, Iloilo, Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga and General Santos.