Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has warned that severe punishment awaits non-frontliners who will jump the line for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines and the city health workers who allow it to happen.
Belmonte issued the statement following allegations on social media regarding non-frontliners who allegedly received Covid-19 vaccines from city health workers.
“We will look into all of these allegations. If proven, we won’t let them get away with this,” Belmonte warned.
Belmonte called on the city health workers to strictly adhere to the established protocols relative to the administration of the vaccine recipients in accordance with the prescribed order of priority.
According to City Legal Officer Atty. Orlando Casimiro, those involved in the undue and premature administration of vaccines shall be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, with the filing of administrative and criminal charges as may be appropriate.
Casimiro said cases for violation of Republic Act 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act may be filed against those who jumped the line, including the city workers who allowed them to do so.
If police officers are involved, complaints may also be filed before the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the People’s Law Enforcement Board for possible administrative liability.
Show cause orders will also be issued by the local government to the employees who may be identified to have been involved in the incident, Casimiro added.
Quezon City Health Department head Dr. Esperanza Anita Escaño-Arias, for her part, clarified that the city is strictly following the priority listing of the Department of Health (DOH) and would not allow any cutting in the vaccination queue.
“Even if they register through the website, they will still undergo an intensive screening from our city officers on site to make sure they are really part of the priority group, specifically in the A1 bracket,” Arias said partly in Filipino.
The A1 priority group includes medical and non-medical personnel of correctional facilities, caring facilities, workers in stand-alone clinics and laboratories, emergency medical teams and uniformed personnel assigned in the City’s Special Concern Lockdown areas, administrative staff, and maintenance employees. Security guards in the said facilities are also included in the A1 bracket.
“If they have failed to provide necessary documents such as company ID, certificate of employment, and PRC ID to prove that they are a frontliner or an essential worker, they will not be accomodated,” Arias explained.
Arias also reiterated that walk-ins are still prohibited in the vaccination sites. Persons who fall under the A1 priority bracket should pre-register at https://app.ezconsult.io/signup and wait for their respective schedule.
Despite the concerns raised, the City Health Office maintained that it is strictly following vaccination protocols and would not allow non-frontliners to jump the line.
“We are requesting the public to refrain from going to the vaccination site if they do not belong to the priority population being immunized. Please understand that we have to strictly follow the protocol and the recommended priority listing that is why we had to turn some of them down even if they are already in the venue” Arias added.