LGUs should coordinate with national gov’t on vaccination program — DOH

Published January 4, 2021, 7:53 PM

by Hanah Tabios

As some local government officials gear up for their vaccination activities, the Department of Health (DOH) urged them to rather coordinate with the national government to effectively manage the deployment of vaccines in the country. 

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Vergeire (Facebook)

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire clarified during a virtual press briefing that the national government is only authorized to procure vaccines given emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration. 

“Yung emergency use authority na ibibigay ng FDA dito sa mga manufacturers ng bakuna ang pwede pa lang bumili nyan ay national government. (Only the national government may buy the vaccines given the emergency use authorization by the FDA),” she said.  

“Nagiging available lang sa market ang isang produkto kapag meron na syang certificate of product registration [pero] hindi pa mabibigyan ang mga bakunang ito ng CPR kasi hindi pa naman talaga effectively or technically tapos yung kanilang clinical trials. (These would only be available to the market if they have already obtained certificate of product registration [but] these products will not be given with CPR because the clinical trials are not yet effectively or technically done),” she added. 

Vergeire then encouraged local government units (LGUs) to work with the national government to “pool the funds” for the vaccines so that the national government will be in-charge of procuring the products for “an effective distribution system.”

“So that we can have a unified effort at hindi tayo magkaroon ng (we would not have) technicalities and also, we will be able to monitor as well,” she said. 

The health undersecretary also noted that the national immunization program rests on the mandate of the DOH, despite the individual efforts of the local chief executives to help contain the spread of the deadly virus in their localities. 

So far, the local governments of Manila, Makati, Pasig, San Juan, and some outside Metro Manila have already announced their procurement plans for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. had earlier said that American biotechnology company Moderna Inc. is accelerating a huge shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines. 

American drugmaker Pfizer has also submitted its application for EUA of its COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines December last year. 

Locsin also said the country has so far secured 2.6 million doses from British drugmaker AstraZeneca through the help of the private sector, and the country has been assured of 30 million doses of Indian-made Novavax COVID-19 vaccine which may be made available by July.