QC has no problem with vaccine non-disclosure policy, says mayor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 21) — Quezon City has had no issue with the non-disclosure policy on vaccine brands, noting that it would be impractical for a large city to accommodate everyone's preference amid limited supply, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Friday.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source, Belmonte said Quezon City residents "do not have a problem" with the policy they have implemented right from the start in their 30 vaccination sites.

"Here in QC, and I can only speak for myself, this has never been a problem for us, this issue of branding. It has never been a policy of the city to disclose what brand is available in a particular site," she said.

"Can you imagine the logistic nightmare if every single one of [those people] assigned to a particular site in a particular date, if we ask them one by one what kind of vaccine they want or if we stock up all the vaccines in that particular site? Gaano katagal yung proseso? (How long will the process take?)" Belmonte explained.

She noted that it is "impractical" and "not feasible" to accommodate everyone's request, especially for a city as big as theirs.

Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje earlier told The Source that authorities will impose a policy not to disclose the brand of vaccines available to avoid incidents similar to what the local governments of Manila and Parañaque dealt with early this week. Crowds trooped to inoculation sites in those cities where Pfizer-made vaccines are being offered.

The Department of Interior and Local Government has directed local officials not to announce brands available on site anymore, but individuals can refuse to be injected if they do not prefer the brand which would be given to them.

READ: Despite crowding complaints, residents told to follow vaccination protocol in Manila hotel

"When a person goes to the site, we disclose the vaccine that is going to be administered in that particular site and that person has a choice to accept or not," Belmonte said on Quezon City's protocol.

"But we always say sa kahihintay mo sa tamang bakuna na gusto mo, baka naman magka-COVID ka," she said. [Translation: But we always say, if you keep waiting for the vaccine you want, you might catch COVID)

Belmonte said they currently have no problem with vaccine hesitancy in the city. But they are hoping to convince more people, especially those from low-income households, to get their shots by providing them in-kind "ayuda" or incentives.

Quezon City can administer an average of 10,000 doses a day, but Belmonte said they hope to ramp this up to 24,000 doses daily once a steady supply comes. The local government has administered 280,000 doses in the city to date, Belmonte added.