Mayors skip vaccine priority list, receive COVID-19 shots

MANILA, Philippines – Despite not being on the government’s top priority list, five mayors from Visayas were inoculated against COVID-19.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City, Leyte, Mayor Elanito Peña of Minglanilla, Cebu, Mayor Victoriano Torres of Alicia, Mayor Virgilio Mendez of San Miguel, and Mayor Arturo Piollo II of Lila have skipped the government’s vaccine priority list ahead of healthcare workers, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities and received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Alfred Romualdez

Currently, the government is still finishing the inoculation of 1.7 million healthcare workers before proceeding to other priority sectors.

Romualdez, who received Coronavac on Monday, March 22, explained that he only did it to encourage his people to get themselves vaccinated. According to him, only 50 percent of the health workers in his city were willing to get vaccinated.

WATCH: Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez gets inoculated with the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine today, March 22, after the mandatory screening and assessment. #resbakuna2021 #Sinovac

Posted by Alfred Romualdez on Monday, March 22, 2021

“Never say that I did it to save myself before others. I did it to make the people see that it was okay to get the vaccine. I wanted our people to take it for protection, and so that the efforts of the national government will not be in vain,” Romualdez said in an interview.

The Tacloban City mayor said he is willing to face the consequences if he broke any protocol.

On Tuesday, March 23, the Department of Health (DOH) issued a warning against non-healthcare workers skipping the line to receive coronavirus vaccinations.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said: “The DOH once again emphasizes that because our vaccines are limited, these doses should first be given to our healthcare workers who most need and deserve it.”

Vergeire added that giving vaccines to non-healthcare workers will jeopardize the country’s supply of succeeding doses from COVAX global facility. If the Philippines can remain true to its commitment to prioritize the limited supply of vaccines, it will receive free vaccines enough to cover 15% to 20% of the population from the COVAX global facility.

Aside from Romualdez, Mayor Sulpicio F. Villalobos of Sto. Niño, South Cotabato, Mayor Dibu S. Tuan of T’boli, South Cotabato, Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi City, Albay and Mayor Abrahan M. Ibba of Bataraza Palawan were given show-cause orders by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

— Mini, The Summit Express

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