Robredo echoes calls to augment vaccine supply in non-NCR areas with rising infections

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 20) — Vice President Leni Robredo joined the list of officials calling for the deployment of more coronavirus vaccines to local government units outside Metro Manila and eight other priority areas.

Robredo on Sunday echoed the appeal, as researchers monitoring the pandemic continue to flag high numbers of infections in some parts in the Visayas and Mindanao.

“‘Yung request natin ngayon hindi nalang dito sa Metro Manila, pero ‘yung mga areas of concern all over the Philippines, sana masuportahan [Our request is that areas of concern which are outside Metro Manila are also given support],” Robredo said during her weekly radio show.

City mayors have urged the national government to increase vaccine allocations in other regions which are seeing a spike in cases. Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has also lamented the supposed unfair distribution of supplies in the country.

“'Yun talaga ‘yung problema,” Robredo continued. “Halimbawa, dito sa Metro Manila, nakita natin sa balita, A5 (indigent population) na ‘yung binabakunahan, pero sa mga probinsya hindi pa nga tapos ‘yung A2 (senior citizens).”

[Translation: That’s really the problem. For example, here in NCR, they’re already vaccinating the A5 group, but in the provinces, they’re not even done with the A2.]

The government is currently prioritizing the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao in its immunization program. These are areas it has dubbed as “economic centers” highly vulnerable to the coronavirus.

According to the Department of Health, distributing the bulk of the limited vaccines to the so-called "NCR Plus 8" will help the country attain herd immunity faster.

The government also maintained that even with such prioritization, it has not been neglecting other parts of the country, adding that it vows to deploy additional doses to areas where cases are on the rise.