Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has expressed frustration about the delay in the arrival of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in the country as it affected the city’s own vaccination program rollout and the reopening of its economy.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte (QC PIO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I would be lying to say that I’m not frustrated with the delay. We have already planned our vaccination program… We are very, very ready. Kulang na nga lang yung bakuna (What we just need is the vaccine),” Belmonte said in an interview with ANC Tuesday.

Belmonte made the remark as the arrival of vaccine was delayed due to the national government’s late submission of required indemnification agreement to vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and AstraZeneca and the late emergency authorization to Sinovac.

Because of this, the Quezon City government now has to adjust its “calendar,” which initially aimed to achieve herd immunity by vaccinating 80 percent of the population or around 1.6 million people within six to eight months.

“We estimated a time of about six to eight months to achieve this [herd immunity]… Certainly, with this delay, and of course given the fact that Sinovac will not applicable to our health workers and to our senior citizens, I think this will require us again to change our vaccine program and shuffle it around,” the mayor said.

Belmonte added that aside from its calendar, the delay also affected the local governments’ bid to reopen the economy as “the riskiest population should be vaccinated first before we can really go about opening the economy.”

If Sinovac, which is still not recommended to health workers and senior citizens, will arrive first, “that means we will have to start with the non-so vulnerable sectors like the working essential workers,” Belmonte said.

“But these are not really the one we should be protecting. It is the health workers and our senior citizens,” she said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/02/23/delayed-covid-19-vaccine-arrival-affects-lgus-own-rollout-economy-revival-mayor-belmonte/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=delayed-covid-19-vaccine-arrival-affects-lgus-own-rollout-economy-revival-mayor-belmonte)