Metro Manila, Davao, Cebu top priority in vaccine distribution – Galvez

Published November 24, 2020, 2:16 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government intends to prioritize the coronavirus vaccine distribution in contaminated areas such as Metro Manila, Davao, and Cebu once the medicines become available, according vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

Galvez disclosed the government’s distribution method of the vaccines after the government started negotiations with three vaccine manufacturers, namely AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Pfizer, for the county’s potential supply. 

The country could secure 60 million doses of the vaccines if the negotiations with these vaccine manufacturers turn out to be successful, Galvez  said in a report to President Duterte Monday night.

“Ang deployment po ng vaccine para doon po sa mga infected at saka ‘yung mga tinatawag po natin na ‘yung mga epicenter (The deployment of the vaccine will be in the infected areas or what we call epicenters),” he said during the meeting with the President and other Cabinet members in Davao City.

“So ang strategy po natin, Mr. President, po is geographical, priority ang NCR (National Capital Region) priority ang Davao dahil ang Davao po ngayon umaakyat din, priority ‘yung Cebu, priority po ‘yung mga Bacolod, ‘yung mga tinamaan po ng mabibigat ng COVID (So our strategy Mr. President is geographical. The priority will be NCR, Davao which has recently seen a surge in cases, Cebu, Bacolod, places which were hit hard by COVID),” he said.

Once these infected areas have been selected, Galvez said they would distribute the vaccines to the target beneficiaries, including the poor and vulnerable.

“From geographical, magiging sectoral. Meaning, kung sino ‘yung priority natin ‘no, for example sa Manila, ‘yung urban poor uunahin po natin ‘yon; ‘yung mga vulnerable uunahin po natin doon (From geographical, it will be sectoral meaning our priority, for example in Manila, will be the urban poor. We will prioritize them. We will also give priority to the vulnerable),” he said.

“‘Yung mga sundalong naka-assign sa NCR uunahin po natin at saka po ‘yung mga essential workers (The soldiers assigned in NCR will also be prioritized, followed by the essential workers),” he said.

President Duterte had earlier allowed authorities to make an advance payment to companies developing the coronavirus vaccine to secure the country’s supply. The recommendation made by Galvez aims to ensure the country will not be left behind in the vaccine acquisition.

Galvez reported to the President that the government is prepared to make the advance commitment to UK-based AstraZeneca by November. He said the company can provide a quota of 20 million doses of the vaccine to the Philippines.

“At nakita natin ang AstraZeneca po maganda po dahil kasi non-profit po ang sa kanya at saka pinakamababa po ‘yung kanyang presyo, more or less five dollars lang po (We see that AstraZeneca is good because it is non-profit and it offers the lowest price at more or less $5),” he said.

Once the agreement is signed, the vaccine supply can be made available by the second quarter of 2021, he added.

“Handa po sila na pagka nag-roll out po ‘yung kanilang ano – kanilang kompanya doon sa British government, pupunta po rito ‘yung mga military at saka ‘yung mga logistic personnel po nila para tulungan po tayong mag-roll out din dito (Once the company in the British government rolls out the vaccines, they can send military and logistic personnel to help us with our rollout),” he said.

Other supply deals are being worked out with Sinovac and Pfizer to boost the country’s vaccine supply.

“Just in case makuha natin tatlong ito, makakabuo po tayo ng 60 million next year (Just in case we get these three companies, we can have 60 million [doses] next year),” he said. “So ibig sabihin mayroon na po tayo na magandang ano – mga vaccine na nakikita natin na safe, cost-effective, at saka po talaga ‘yung efficacy ay medyo po ang ano natin – maganda po ang kanilang mga performance (It means we will have good, we will have safe, cost-effective vaccines. The efficacy, the performance is good),” he added.