Moreno sets October deadline for vaccine rollout

By : Bobby Lagsa Mindanao Today/04:28:26pm 07/24/2021


(Note: This news article was published in the print edition of Mindanao Today on July 23, 2021)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Mayor Oscar Moreno said that the city will finish its vaccination rollout aimed at reducing the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases by end of September this year.

In the city government’s daily press briefer, Moreno said that the city is trying to improve its daily vaccination target from 5,000 doses per day to at least 7,000 doses per day, an ambitious number but is achievable, according to the local chief executive.

“In the beginning, the vaccine was really difficult, ordering vaccines is not easy,” Moreno said.

He said the city started administering 200 doses per day, then ramped up its target to 1,000 to 1,500 doses per day.

Earlier this year, Cagayan de Oro earmarked close to half a billion pesos for the acquisition of vaccines for the targeted 550,000 residents which constitute 70 percent of the city’s population.

“Early in the year, we decide to buy the vaccine ourselves, but up to now, our expected arrival of the (ordered) vaccine is September, it is that difficult,” Moreno said.

He added that ordering vaccine is not easy, saying, “I have seen that ourselves. Major manufacturing countries [such as] US, China, India, have their share of the problem.”

Moreno said that the United States has Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

All these brands, he said, are well-touted vaccines, but the mayor added they could not have expected that the U.S. will allocate the Philippines early on and that they have problems with their vaccines.

“England is having a problem with their European neighbors. They have resentment against the UK Because there is no AstraZeneca,” Moreno said.

Moreno said that the country is heavily reliant on what was given as the country is totally reliant of the vaccine coming from other countries.

“That is why it is not easy, we don’t have a manufacturer of the vaccine, we are 100 percent importer of the vaccines,” Moreno said.

Moreno said that President Rodrigo Duterte can take credit for China’s allocation of the Sinovac vaccine to the country.

Now that developed countries are hitting more than 50 percent of their population, there are now excesses in the vaccine supplies across the world.

“Developed economies are now okay, over 50 percent vaccination rate. They are now experiencing excesses in their vaccines, now they can help third-world countries. There are other countries that are in dire need of help,” Moreno said.

Moreno said that in order for the city to accelerate the vaccination rollout in the city, he reached out to Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., the country’s vaccine manager.

Easier said than done

Moreno said that targeting more than 5,000 doses per day is easier said than done. Acting City Health Officer Dr. William Bernardo has been targeting an average of 5,000 a day.

“But that is easier said than done, we can still hit that, and we can even improve that but it is not that easy,” Moreno said.

Moreno said that the city doesn’t have enough personnel and may have to hire medical personnel on a day-to-day basis. The city’s vaccine rollout is only done on weekdays.

“Our doctors cannot cope with (the work). We don’t even have vaccine deployment on weekends. We do not have enough vaccines, and our doctors need to rest too, he added.

Despite the challenges of the supply chain of the vaccine, Moreno said that he is targeting that by October 2021, the city would have been done with its vaccine rollout.

“Hopefully by October, we are done with the vaccination. We will improve on our 5,000 (per day), if we can achieve 7,000 a day, by September, we are done,” Moreno said.

He also emphasized the need to address the psychological aspect of the vaccine.

“Even if you can achieve 10,000 a day if there are people who don’t want to be vaccinated, then, you cannot hit your target,” Moreno said.

He said that there are still senior citizens that need to be vaccinated and there are far-flung barangays that needs to be served in the most efficient way.

“We still are looking for ways to accelerate our vaccination rollout. There will be many obstacles along the way, but we will find a way,” Moreno said.

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