Bacolod pleads for more vaccines as COVID-19 cases surge 422 percent
BACOLOD CITY—Mayor Evelio Leonardia has asked the national government to allocate more coronavirus vaccines as the city is being pummeled by a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“We are being hit hard by this new wave of COVID-19 infections,” said Leonardia.
“Ramping up our vaccination program will be critical to saving lives and restoring economic activity in our city,” said Leonardia in a letter dated May 5 to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
Galvez earlier said the government might have to give priority to the vaccination program in Metro Manila and other key urban areas hit hardest by the pandemic, including Bacolod City.
The Department of Health has classified Bacolod as a high risk area for COVID-19.
The city’s health office had recorded an alarming increase of 422 percent in the number of COVID-19 cases in Bacolod from only 271 cases in March to 1,415 in April.
Leonardia said the continued rise in cases resulted in increases in hospitalizations and deaths.
“Hospitals and intensive care units are now nearing their full capacity and staff shortages have been reported,” he said.
“We have been doing our very best to be ahead in terms of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Leonardia said.
“We are also on pace to have more new cases as we continue to intensify contact tracing and expand targeted testing,” the mayor added.
Bacolod was among the very first local governments in the country to secure 650,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines but these would not be delivered until the third quarter of 2021.
“While we have already started to roll out our vaccination program, our allocation from the national government comes in trickles,” Leonardia said.
To date, Bacolod has received only 19,160 vaccine doses from the national government, and has only inoculated 11,993 out of 424,992 residents eligible for vaccination.
“As we are experiencing a sharp increase in new cases and the threat of even faster spread, we need to accelerate the pace of vaccinations to move through the priority groups more quickly,” Leonardia said.