By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The provincial government of Negros Occidental has decided not to set aside any funds for the purchase of booster shots for coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, although funds for anti-COVID measures remain a top priority.
According to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, they won’t set aside fund for the purchase of booster shots even though the pandemic is not yet over. Instead they will rely on the national government for the procurement of booster shots.
Meanwhile, Lacson expressed his disappointment with AstraZeneca Philippines for their slow delivery of vaccines to the province.
The governor explained that they have learned a valuable lesson from the vaccine purchase, pointing out that of the 100,000 doses they were supposed to receive, the province only received 30,000 doses.
The procured vaccines were supposed to be used to inoculate the province’s health workers, and the provincial government was able to completely inoculate all of its health workers even before the remaining AstraZeneca jabs they ordered were received.
Instead, Lacson said they will align the P200 million in funds for the province’s pandemic measures. The funds will be taken directly from the P5.7 billion 2022 budget.
The funds will be used to further strengthen the province’s One Hospital Command, expansion of the medical oxygen production, and possibly using the money to buy COVID-19 medicine, which are now in the final phase of development abroad./DGB, WDJ