Local government units should prepare their own vaccination plans, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Friday as the Philippines prepares to start the COVID-19 mass immunization program.
Plans should include a communication campaign on COVID-19 vaccination, a master list of priority eligible recipients, possible vaccine centers, available cold chain storages, and other logistical requirements, DILG spokesperson Usec. Jonathan Malaya said.
"This COVID-19 vaccination will be the biggest of such program sa ating kasaysayan kaya ating hinihikayat ang mga LGU na ihanda na ang kanilang mga vaccination plan for we need this to be as smooth as possible sapagkat buhay ng ating mga mamamayan ang nakasalalay dito," Malaya said.
At best, authorities said the country would receive an initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac. So far, only American drugmaker Pfizer has secured an emergency use authorization from the local Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine.
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Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday the country has enough cold storage facilities to store and transport COVID-19 vaccines once the jabs arrive.
"Nakikita ko po, prepared na prepared tayo, cold chain facility napaka very modern saka very safe, capacity talagng adequate," Galvez said.
Malaya said LGUs should start coordinating with local Centers for Health Development in coming up with their vaccination plans, which must comply with the Department of Health's guidelines.
Local emergency operation centers should also include a dedicated arm for vaccine concerns to respond to queries from the public, Malaya said.
For LGUs planning to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for their constituents, Malaya said they must coordinate with their provincial governments, which in turn would consolidate all purchase requests to the national task force on pandemic response -- headed by vaccine czar Galvez.
The national government follows a tripartite approach in the procurement of vaccines from foreign makers. Earlier this month, some 39 LGUs joined the signing of a deal with British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to bring the Philippines' COVID-19 vaccine order to about 17 million doses.
"Katulad po ng amin nang nabanggit, napakahalaga po na makiisa ang mga LGU sa tripartite approach sa pagbili nila ng mga bakuna," Malaya said.