The city government of Makati announced that it is temporarily halting its mass vaccination for the A4 priority group scheduled on July 1 as the national government has not yet delivered its allocated doses.
Those under the A4 group are the economic frontliners or those who needed to physically attend to their workplaces to perform their duties.
Reports said that these are composed of around 35 million workers.
The vaccination of this group is initially focused on the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.
If supplies are scant, A4 workers within 40 to 59 years old will be prioritized over those 18 to 39 years old.
Makati was supposed to continue inoculating those belonging to the category on Thursday but it temporarily suspended the vaccination due to the lack of supplies.
“Napag-alaman namin na hindi nakapag-deliver ng bakuna para sa A4 ang National Government. Dahil dito, ikinalulungkot namin na canceled ang inyong schedule ng bakuna bukas, July 1,” its Facebook post on Wednesday said.
“Huwag mag-alala dahil tiyak na kayo ang priority kapag dumadating dito. Muli kaming magte-text para sa inyong bagong schedule. Salamat po,” it added.
Those part of the A1, A2, A3 and A5 categories, meanwhile, can still be inoculated, based on the city’s more recent Facebook posts.
A1 refers to the healthcare workers, A2 are senior citizens and A3 are persons with comorbidities. A5 are those that are part of the indigent population.
The announcement was also made on Twitter, where some Filipino online users aired their comments about the COVID-19 vaccine supply.
“We need better vaccine distribution,” statistician Peter Cayton, who is part of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team, tweeted.
“Hindi lang vaccine hesitancy ang problema natin. Ang lala,” Dr. Gene Nisperos, board member of the Community Medicine Development Foundation, commented.
“This amidst the multiple deliveries recently. Pft! #AnoNaNationalGovt,” another Twitter user wrote.
It was previously reported that the national government will start vaccinating the A4 sector this month.
Other local government units (LGU) have started inoculating them already but there have been reports of suspension.
The city of Manila recently halted its mass vaccination on June 28 and 29 without citing further details.
Taguig City also stopped its vaccination drive on the same days but noted that it is “due to limited vaccine supply.”
According to the local Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health can only distribute the COVID-19 vaccines to LGUs if the doses have secured a certificate of analysis and have been cleared for use.
“Ang bakuna po, talagang hindi pupuwede gamitin hangga’t hindi lumalabas ang certificate of analysis to show na pasado siya. Kasi po, hindi naman natin mababawi ang bakuna ‘pag na-iniksyon na,” FDA Director-General Eric Domingo was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
“Kaya pinaalalahanan din po amin ang DOH, hindi po dapat dini-distribute muna ang bakuna nang hindi pa pasado sa certificate of analysis. Kailangan po, ‘pag dinistribute siya, ay ready for use na siya,” he added.
Domingo said that the certificate of analysis is proof of the vaccines’ quality and safety for use.
“Ang ginawa po kasi ata e parang dineliver na, naka-preposition na. Para pagdating ng resulta ng certificate of analysis, e magamit na agad. Kaya lang po, mas mabuti po kasi dine-deliver ‘pag kumpleto na lahat ng tests ng bakuna,” he said.
Last April, it was reported that issues on paperwork have stalled the vaccination drives of Manila and Quezon City.
The Palace said that FDA Philippines had sought a certificate of analysis from the supplier to ensure that the new batch of vaccines is of the same standard as the previous shipments.
FDA monitors the importation of COVID-19 vaccines by batches or lot numbers in compliance with Emergency Use Authorizations.
The country has received more than 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of June 28, based on vaccine tracker reports.
It has distributed 13,802,680 of these as of June 27 and has administered 10,065,414 of them to the population.
There are 2,527,286 Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated, which is 4.36% of the government’s target as of June 27.
It aims to fully vaccinate 58 million people by the end of December this year.