₱13.5-B Covid-19 vax expiring in July!
After borrowing at least ₱2 trillion to address the COVID-19 pandemic, in the process breaching the ₱12-trillion public debt red line, the government has its hands full with 27 million doses of vaccine worth ₱13.5 billion expiring in July with no ready plan on what to do.
Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje explained Saturday that after the slow delivery of orders from various sources, big volumes arrived in the last two months of 2021 and in January 2022, including donations and those procured by the private sector and local governments.
She said the overload problem was worsened by the fact that most of the arriving vaccines had short expiry life. Besides, the distribution and logistical networks were fragmented, and there was a lack of manpower.
As of Friday, the health department said, at least 67 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated. The government’s target is to fully vaccinate 90 million by June 2022. There has been noticed lately, however, a decline in the interest in getting vaccinated.
What to do with the soon-expiring vaccine? We posed the question on Twitter yesterday and got an avalanche of suggestions laced with exasperation with the apparent miscalculation by those managing the anti-COVID campaign. Sample comments and suggestions:
*Tony Leachon MD @DrTonyLeachon – DOH to declare Covid-19 full vaccination as 3 doses to protect us from future surges due to new variants, fast-track booster program in workplaces, and FDA to register mRNA vaccines as fourth dose or second booster.
*Aaronnbayy @aaronnbayy1 – Donate to less privileged countries.
*MadM @MandMLan – May mga probinsya pa na hindi nakakasimula ng booster. Bakit walang nakakarating sa kanila?
*Sour_Do @dizon_xerxes – I think kailangan na pong ilapit ito sa mga taong mahihirap mapuntahan/ walang kakayahang magregister online at nasa masusukal. Simulan munang ituro sa kanila kung para saan ito at yung maintenance sa kanila pagkatapos.
*LonerdY @lonerdyx – Sell it to other nations??? Idk…
*Kuneho @dagapusa – Gawing 2nd booster shots. Kung hihintayin natin yung ayaw sa vaccine, gamitin na lang doon sa mga tao na gusto ng immunity kesa naman masira lamang ang mga ito. Kung merong probinsiya na kailangan ng 1st booster, doon ipadala.
*Julian Makabayan @JulesMakabayan – The US donated the same number of doses. The WHO COVAX scheme also completed 44 million doses. Japan donated 2 million doses and others donated a few millions more. Meanwhile, this government persisted in buying Sinovac.
*Cathypunero @cathypunero – A large part are from the orders facilitated by a high-profile NGO. These orders came late!
*shegall7 @shegall70 – Pwede na po sana pati mga teens to have their 3rd shot.
• Youth votes on/off-campus vary
The casual onlooker is bound to ask why the conflicting results of the presidential preference surveys of 2,400 sample respondents (56 percent of them youths) and of campus mock elections where some 12,400 youthful students had voted?
The last presidential preference survey with 2,400 respondents had ex-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. romping off with 60 percent of the votes and Vice President Leni Robredo with 15 percent. But in campus mock elections involving college students, Robredo was the overwhelming winner.
The intriguing discrepancy may be traced to the methodology used, to the divergent agenda behind the surveys and the mock elections, or to other reasons. The answers we leave to the experts to work on.
Some of the obvious differences are: the poll survey had 2,400 faceless respondents while the mock elections had around 12,400 identifiable students voting; survey respondents were aged 18 and above (but presumably 56 percent of them aged 18–41 years as in the voters’ profile of the Comelec) while the campus voters were of various collegiate age; the respondents in the survey sample were drawn nationwide while the student-voters were largely from urban campuses although they presumably came from all over the country.
The Comelec said more than half of the 66 million voters registered for the May 9 national elections are 18 to 41 years old. Referred to as the youth, this age sector comprises 56 percent of all voters.
Most of these young voters were not born yet, and a few were not older than five years, during Ferdinand E. Marcos’ dictatorship that has been accused of rights abuse and plunder on such a scale as to land him in the Guinness World Record (at least until March 9, 2022, when the data vanished from the GWR website).
In recent surveys asking 2,400 voters their presidential preferences, the dictator’s son Ferdinand Jr. garnered 60 percent, trailed by Robredo (15 percent), Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso (10 percent), and Sen. Manny Pacquiao (8 percent).
But in the mock elections conducted on several university campuses, Robredo and her running mate Sen. Francis Pangilinan reportedly emerged as the most preferred candidates for president and vice president, respectively.
The tandem dominated the mock polls at the Ateneo de Manila University, Far Eastern University, National University, University of the Philippines–Diliman, and University of Santo Tomas.
At the Ateneo de Manila, Robredo and Pangilinan got 3,197 and 2,909 votes, respectively, of the total 3,343 votes, while they received 6,618 and 5,916 votes, respectively, of the 7,345 votes in the mock polls conducted by the FEU Central Organization.
They got 1,972 and 1,840 votes, respectively, of the 2,194 votes in the mock election held by the National University Student Government.
On the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City, Robredo garnered 4,870 of 5,106 votes, while Pangilinan got 4,328. Both of them happen to be UP alumni. Of the total 4,401 votes cast at UST, Robredo obtained 3,973, and Pangilinan 3,630.
Robredo was also endorsed by the student council of the University of the East–Manila, citing the results of the mock polls it conducted where 10,800 out of 11,030 voters chose her to be president.