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‘Reallocate vaccines to new high-risk areas’

The League of Cities of the Philippines has appealed for the inclusion of more areas in the priority recipients of Covid-19 vaccines, following the recent surge of infections in other high-risk cities.

In a letter addressed to National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., LCP national president and Bacolod City Mayor Bing Leonardia and LCP secretary-general and Calapan City Mayor Arnan Panaligan expressed alarm over reports of surges in “Batangas, Pampanga, Region 2, and some areas in the Cordillera Administrative Region.”

Reports have also noted a sharp increase in cases in Mimaropa and Western Visayas, including Calapan City, Bacolod City, and Iloilo City, with the latter placed under modified enhanced community quarantine until May 31.

Both mayors urged for the distribution of new vaccine shipments in these places outside the priority areas of NCR Plus, Cebu, and Davao, a press release from the city said yesterday.

“We deem that the pre-emptive action of distributing vaccines to a broader number of cities will prevent a potential new wave of case surges throughout the Philippines,” Leonardia and Panaligan said in the letter.

The LCP officials also acknowledged the national government’s task of considering the “delicate balance” between distributing vaccines to current hotspots and allocating to emerging hotspots that may become critical areas.

“We will bank on the expertise of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, NTF, and National Immunization Technical Advisory Group to make evidence-based decisions in identifying the priority areas in addition to the initial list,” they said.

IATF LAUDED

The LCP recently lauded the IATF for reclassifying local chief executives as part of the priority A1 group in the national vaccination program.

In the same letter, Leonardia and Panaligan assured Galvez that city mayors would reciprocate the trust and confidence of the national government with more “proactive and efficient programs” in their localities.*

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