Kalinga Governor Ferdinand Tubban, whose province is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 infections recording a total of 335 cases for the period April 1 to 6, said they are happy for their inclusion in the priority list.
In February, Tubban was tested positive of the virus and was cleared in the same month after undergoing self-quarantine.
Tubban, 57, said he looks forward to receive the vaccine. "I want to receive it. This is just what I have been waiting for -- to be vaccinated."
Meanwhile, Abra Governor Joy Bernos, who chairs the Regional Development Council (RDC), said: “I am very grateful that the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force) realized the danger on us, leading the whole province in the fight against Covid-19. I hope we could fast track everything in the vaccine roll-out so we could give protection for all the Abrenios.”
Bernos was infected in March and has already recovered.
Sagada, Mountain Province Mayor James Pooten, whose town is also experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases with 462 new cases recorded in a span of six days (April 1 to 6), said, “(Para) sa akin dapat lang kasama ang LCEs (local chief executives) (For me, it is just right to include the LCEs in the vaccination program of the government)."
"As for my case, kaya ako nag positibo, according to our MHO (municipal health officer) contact tracer, transmission was done when we went to barangays doing house-to-house to convince people to go for RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction) test (In my case, the MHO contact tracer said I got infected when we went house-to-house in the barangays to convince people to go for RT-PCR test),” the mayor said.
“LCEs are also always with the front-liners whether at the barangay health centers, triage, checkpoints, hospitals and the like. LCEs are most of the time in the frontlines,” he added.
Buguias town Mayor Ruben Tindaan, who tested positive for Covid-19 on April 5 and whose town is listed in A-1.5, said: “All of us mayors are happy that we have been included in the A-1.5 list of priority to be vaccinated. It is in the nature of our job to be in direct contact with our people and our front-liners, so we are often exposed and prone to infection."
"We welcome this especially in light of the recent Covid-19 positive cases involving mayors in our province and neighboring LGUs. Our vaccination would likewise be helpful in generating community awareness and vaccination acceptance,” he added.
He, however, said he is not qualified to be vaccinated due to the infection.
Advisory No. 26 of the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) approved by the national IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on April 5 has identified 57 high-risk and critical provinces, 25 highly urbanized and independent component cities as well as 321 component cities and municipalities all over the country whose mayors and governors can be inoculated, after all the health workers who are on the A-1 priority list have been vaccinated.
The LCEs were categorized as A-1.5 priority or after the health workers and before the senior citizens.
In the Cordillera, all the chief executives in the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Baguio City were included.
Two towns in Kalinga -- Tabuk City and Pasil; eight in Mountain Province -- Sadanga, Barlig, Bauko, Tadian, Besao, Sabangan, Sagada and capital town Bontoc; two in Apayao -- Flora and Pudtol; five towns in Benguet -- Atok, Buguias, Kibungan, Kabayan and capital town La Trinidad; four in Ifugao -- Alfonso Lista, Lamut, Hingyon and capital town Bangued were also on the list.
The national advisory also said if localities not on the list become high-risk or in critical risk as determined by the Department of Health, the LCE of the locality shall be qualified for inoculation with Covid-19 vaccines. (PNA)
By Liza Agoot