THE City Government of Bacolod once again asked the National Government for additional Covid-19 vaccines in the city.

In his letter dated July 1, 2021 and addressed to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer and vaccine czar of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, Mayor Evelio Leonardia said: "In behalf of our people therefore, I most respectfully and earnestly request that we be given additional vaccines in order to be able to accelerate the pace of vaccinations and to move through the priority groups more quickly."

Leonardia said the City Government is doing its best to contain the spread of the virus.

"Despite this, Bacolod is still experiencing an alarmingly persistent surge of Covid-19 cases. Bacolod had closed the month of June with the highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic," he said.

He added that hospitalizations have hit record levels, and “although we have recently added additional rooms and beds, the city's Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMF) are reaching full capacity.”

The mayor noted that hospitals in the city are reporting staff shortages and "precipitous" declines in finances due to non-payment of PhilHealth claims.

Leonardia also acknowledged the struggle of healthcare workers who are already exhausted, "to the point of breaking" due to the influx of patients since the start of the pandemic.

"In response to the surge, we are consistently implementing and strengthening the PDITR strategy, expanded Covid-19 testing, intensified contact tracing, limited large gatherings, and regulated inbound travel," Leonardia said.

He said Bacolod is coordinating with the regional and national IATF, as well as local health facilities and medical societies.

"Although we have already started Covid-19 vaccinations last March 5, 2021, we have only so far fully vaccinated 11,047 persons and partially vaccinated 53,466, out of our population of 624,987, owing to the limited supply of vaccines arriving in our city," he added.

Leonardia stressed that vaccination is a crucial strategy in ending this pandemic, that is why additional doses would be of great help to improve the Covid-19 situation in Bacolod.

"Bacolod City was recently included as one of the NCR Plus 10 priority areas for vaccination. However, the only vaccine we have received after the announcement was a mere 7,800 doses received last June 30, 2021. We have not received any additional vaccines thereafter. We believe that if we ramp up vaccinations, we will be able to significantly reduce Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations," Leonardia said.