BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has expressed vehement opposition to the move to recall Covid-19 vaccines given to provinces, for use in hospitals that the recorded highest numbers of Covid-19 patients in Luzon and Cebu, as requested by Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
“Definitely, we will not allow that, especially in Negros Occidental,” Lacson said.
Duque clarified that the vaccines that were already distributed will not be recalled but will only be “borrowed” from hospitals in provinces, with minimal reported uptake, because only a few medical frontliners got vaccinated.
Lacson said the remaining and unused vaccines are intended for the second dose of already vaccinated health workers. Negros Occidental, excluding Bacolod City, got more than 5,000 vials of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines.
“I will not agree to the request, and we will continue to keep the vaccines for second doses,” Lacson said, in an interview with DYWB Bombo Radyo.
If they want, he suggested, DOH should get the next batch of vaccines intended for shipment to Negros Occidental.
Duque said DOH will use the borrowed vaccines in the National Capital Region, Regions 4-A, 3 and Cordillera Administrative Region, where a surge of Covid-19 cases was noted.
Lacson said he believes that his sentiment is shared by other members of the League of Provinces of the Philippine (LPP).
“The position of Negros Occidental is, we will not return it, since it is already reserved for the second dose,” he stressed.
LPP president Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velaso, who aired his opposition to the move of Duque, said that the vaccine supply given to provinces was not that much.*