QC terminates eZConsult deal with Zuellig as vaccination booking issues continue

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 30) — The Quezon City government announced Tuesday night that it will terminate its contract with the Zuellig Pharma Corporation, the company behind the online vaccination appointment platform eZConsult.

This was after the platform used by Quezon City residents crashed again in the afternoon. Users shared their frustration on social media regarding technical issues they encountered, with some waiting for hours in order to book a slot for their COVID-19 shot.

"We have already given Zuellig [Pharma] ample time to improve their system upon their request and yet their system has crashed again for the 9th time,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement. “We don't want to cause undue stress to our constituents who only want to register for vaccination.”

This also comes after Quezon City opened 55,450 slots through the platform at 5 p.m. for A1 to A4 priority groups.

“Earlier, they reported an upgrade of their system which supposedly could already accommodate up to 50,000 users at a time. However, their system crashed again when we opened new slots,” Belmonte said, adding that instead of easing up the process, the system only caused delays in the registration and vaccination process as a whole.

On June 16, Belmonte gave Zuellig Pharma until June 18 to fix its services as residents have complained about challenges in accessing eZConsult since March 27. She has warned the company of contract termination and filing of damages if it fails to meet the deadline.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Zuellig Pharma Chief Business Officer Jannette Jakosalem said they have upgraded the system and “there has been some noticeable improvements.” Upgrading will continue to accommodate the needs of the city, she added.

With this development, City Attorney Orlando Casimiro said "the Information Technology portion of the Service Agreement with the city government will be terminated and damages will be claimed against Zuellig [Pharma] because of the delays, inconvenience and frustration that our QCitizens have experienced.”

Under Section 9 of the deal, the service provider is liable to pay liquidated damages amounting to one tenth of 1% of the contract price for every day of delay until the project is completed.

The city government is also mulling to file civil and criminal charges against Zuellig Pharma for not meeting its contractual obligation.

For now, residents are encouraged to register through the city government-assisted QC Vax Easy portal

Those who were able to book vaccination slots for July 1,2,3,5 and 6 may proceed with their appointments, the local government said. It noted that all ongoing bookings are valid until the termination has been finalized.