COVID vaccines as political weapon

    ‘With supply issues already resolved, the possible use of the COVID-19 vaccine as a political weapon by officials has been diminished, but is still possible.’

    NOW that the election season has begun, the concern that some officials especially those in power might use the government’s vaccination program to gain an edge over their opponents is again heard.

    This is because the reality of Philippine politics is such that a candidate, whether incumbent or not, will try to do all the tricks and maneuvers possible to gain an advantage for his/her candidacy. The use of underhanded political tactics involving money and violence — and now the new weapon, COVID-19 vaccine — often leads to disastrous consequences.

    It is in this light that Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the vaccine czar, urged local government units (LGUs) to unite and not use the government’s vaccination program against the coronavirus disease 2019 as a “political weapon.”

    Galvez made the statement after officials attending the inauguration of a mega vaccination site in Valenzuela City last week made political endorsements in favor of certain candidates.

    In his remarks at the arrival of 2,793,240 doses of Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines in Parañaque City last week, Galvez urged officials to refrain from politicking in implementing the government’s vaccination program.

    Secretary Galvez, also the chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19, said: “I enjoin all the governors and the mayors to unite. Set aside your political inclination and do not use this vaccination as a political weapon.”

    Galvez noted that in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan, the unity and cooperation among the mayors and governors have resulted in the fast rollout of vaccination. He encouraged everybody, including congressmen, governors and mayors, “to work as one, to vaccinate as one.”

    According to Galvez, all the towns and cities of the country now have more than enough vaccines for their use. “The vaccines are now overflowing, it’s flooding with vaccines now.

    All they need to buy are syringes.”

    With supply issues already resolved, the possible use of the COVID-19 vaccine as a political weapon by officials has been diminished, but is still possible. Unless of course if the manipulators in local government units will insist on squeezing the supply for their own benefit, or giving the vaccines only to their identified supporters.

    In which case the health authorities, the police and the Comelec should step in.