BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Western Visayas officials are asking the Department of Health to allow them to inoculate residents in the A4 category, or frontline employees in essential sectors, including uniformed personnel, and questioned the different policy being implemented for the National Capital Region and its neighboring provinces.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday that they raised with Health Secretary Francisco Duque the question of why the vaccination of those in the A4 category already started in the NCR Plus bubble, and not yet in the region.
“We are all Filipinos,” Lacson said, adding that their target is to inoculate 70 percent of the population. “If we open up more sectors, the faster we can reach our target,” he said.
The clamor for more vaccines for Western Visayas and additional health personnel for Iloilo had also been raised anew with the DOH, Lacson said, adding that these issues were already raised in past meetings.
4,708 ACTIVE CASES
As of June 21, Negros Occidental, including the highly-urbanized city of Bacolod, logged a total of 4,708 active cases, the DOH-Western Visayas reported.
Lacson attributed the increase in the number of Covid-19 active cases in Negros Occidental, mostly to the lack of cooperation from the people. He noted that residents in far-flung areas and those outside urban centers do not wear face masks, although he cannot say that the new cases, indeed, come from those places.
He stressed the need for local chief executives in areas with high Covid cases to exert more efforts in contact tracing.
The provincial government of Negros Occidental has put in place measures to expedite the vaccination rollout in all 31 LGUs of the province by conducting simultaneous inoculation in the towns and cities.
Lacson said it is now a policy of the Capitol not to give vaccines to LGUs that are not ready to receive and use the shots.
“Because of that, I see a lot of improvements, and I hope we get used to it because the national government has been saying that, by August, there will be a lot of vaccines available,” he added.
The DOH-Western Visayas earlier said that Negros Occidental and Bacolod City will receive 25,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine supposed to arrive yesterday.*