City mayors seek COVID-19 vaccines for areas outside NCR+8

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 29) — City mayors outside areas identified as high-risk for COVID-19 infection appealed for vaccine supply as cases surge in other parts of the country.

The League of Cities (LCP) on Friday asked the national government to send incoming vaccine deliveries to MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, Cagayan Valley and parts of the Cordillera Administrative Region – areas that recently reported a spike in infection – even as supply had been largely earmarked for the so-called NCR+8 or Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga, Batangas, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.

”We deem that the preemptive action of distributing vaccines to a broader number of cities will prevent a potential new wave of case surges throughout the Philippines," Bacolod City Mayor Bing Leonardia, LCP president, and Calapan City Mayor Arnan Panaligan, LCP secretary-general, said in a letter to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

Leonardia and Panaligan included Pampanga and Batangas, but these provinces are already part of the priority areas previously identified by pandemic task force officials. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire had said the bulk of limited vaccines is for NCR+8 to attain herd immunity faster.

"Base po sa ating mga eksperto (Based on our experts) when you do this, when you vaccinate more on these specific areas, mas malaki po ang impact sa populasyon natin (the impact would be bigger on our population) because we are going to cover more, and we are going to address the burden of disease when we do that," she said Friday.