“Sana naman yun mga ordinaryong Pilipino na wala naman dun sa priority listing, makunsensya na lamang po kayo.”
This was the appeal made by Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing when asked about Filipinos who have been jumping the COVID19 vaccination line.
Rampant disregard for medical frontline workers’ prioritization could cost the Philippines 44 million doses of free vaccines from the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility. It also deprives healthcare workers of the protection they need.
“Isag bakuna na pinagkait natin sa mga health workers ay isang bakuna na pinagkait natin sa mga kalusugan ng taong lumalaban para sa taongbayan,” Densing said in government’s Laging Handa briefing.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is now asking a handful of mayors to explain why administrative charges shouldn’t be filed against them after reports of “jumping the line’ in the vaccine prioritization list.
The government has been clear that only healthcare workers should be given the jab at this time.
Among those vaccinated who is not a healthcare worker was former actor Mark Anthony Fernandez who received his first shot of AstraZeneca, supplied through the COVAX facility in Paranaque this Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
Paranaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez explained that Fernandez qualified to be on their substitution list.
Fernandez was classified under the category of people with comorbidities since he had depression, the mayor explained.
Olivarez and the other mayors who allegedly violated the vaccine prioritization list could be slapped with administrative charges and penalized.
But Juans who jumped the line are off the hook — there is no law penalizing ordinary folks who jump the vaccination line.
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“Yung sa sumingit kagaya ni Mark Anthony Fernandez kahapon na wala sa priority list pero nakasingit, as of this time wala po kaming nakikitang potential liability. So mukhang makakalusot sya kung wala tayong nakikitang liability,” Densing said.
In a separate briefing, the president’s spokesman Secretary Harry Roque confirmed a quick substitution list in case those who signed up backed out or were absent at the last minute. This is to ensure that the vaccines will not go to waste.
The government, however, has yet to explain who qualifies to be on the substitution list.