Senator Risa Hontiveros on Sunday urged the National Task Force on COVID-19 (NTF) and the Department of Health (DOH) to release a vaccine tracker immediately so the public can view the progress of the National Vaccination Program, after the country contracted another $900 million loan from the World Bank to buy coronavirus vaccines.
“The public will pay that debt. A vaccine tracker updated daily and accurately will be especially important when we start receiving the vaccines we paid for. This will also be on our money trail to know where our billions of pesos debt went,” she said.
“We should be able to see that our money is being put to good and efficient use,” the senator added.
Hontiveros said the public has the right to know the progress of vaccination amid their increasing anxiety due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Yet again, we are mostly left in the dark. Two weeks had already passed and yet, the number on the vaccination is not yet clear,” she said.
“How many health workers and essential frontliners were inoculated. and how many of them will still be vaccinated. While the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing, the NTF should be more accountable in the speed of vaccination,” the senator said.
Hontiveros noted the publicly accessible and verifiable vaccine tracker should be easily understood by all.
She said it must contain information on which vaccines have arrived or have yet to arrive, their quantity, and where and how many vaccines have been distributed. The tracker should also include who have been vaccinated, as well as other vaccination schedules and deadlines.
“The vaccine tracker will be an important tool to regain trust among the public. Aside from being able to clearly see where we are or the progress of vaccination, she said this could show that the NTF is committed to transparency and accountability throughout the whole process,” Hontiveros said.
The senator also said that the tracker would serve as an important guide to improvement also when the vaccination program moves on to senior citizens, who still do not know which vaccine is approved for them.
“Is there something slowing down the vaccination? Before we begin vaccinating seniors, we need to iron everything out: the master list, health screening and vaccine education,” she said.
“A vaccine tracker that is easy to understand is an important part of our response as we move forward. Especially now that we may find ourselves back to square one after a year of the pandemic, every measurement of accountability is crucial,” Hontiveros concluded.