The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) emphasized Wednesday AstraZeneca is the preferred COVID-19 vaccine of most local government units (LGUs) after the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 bared the list of available vaccines in the market.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya explained that the NTF laid out the vaccines currently available in the market and were provided with pertinent data which passed through the scrutiny of the Food and Drugs administration (FDA) that ensured its safety.
In an interview over ABS-CBN Teleradyo, Malaya noted that the LGUs were also briefed on the possible scheduled delivery dates of the vaccine.
“So nakakapili po sila (LGUS) kung ano po yung preference (COVID-19 vaccine) nila (They were able to choose their preferred COVID-19 vaccine). As a matter of fact, ang karamihan sa kanila pinili na ngayon yung Astra Zeneca (Most of them picked Astra Zeneca),’’ Malaya said.
With the clarification, Malaya insisted that the LGUs are involved in the choice of the COVID-19 vaccine that will be used in their respective jurisdictions under the tripartite agreement involving the national government, pharmaceutical firms and the localities.
Malaya pointed out that initially, the LGUs were allowed to independently negotiate for the purchase of their vaccines with the condition of having them coordinate with the NTF since the pharmaceutical firms are barred from selling the vaccine directly to the localities.
“It is only through the national government kasi nga po ito ay EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) (since it is under the EUA),’’ he added.
Malaya added that the national government is not fully reliant with the LGUs since some of them may have insufficient funds to purchase the vaccine.
Under the 2021 budget, Malaya said that Congress has set aside a substantial amount for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Gusto ko lang po emphasize na ito pong procurement ng mga LGUs ay augmentation lang po ito. Whether or not may pondo yung LGU meron po talagang national vaccination program ang ating pamahalaan (I would like to emphasize that the procurement of the LGUs is for augmentation purposes only. Whether or not they have the funds the administration actually has a national vaccination program),’’ Malaya assured.
In guaranteeing its safety, Malaya assured that the administration will only roll-out the COVID-19 vaccine that passed through expert panels and certified by the FDA.
Even if the President wants to have all Filipinos vaccinated, Malaya explained that the frontliners, health workers and senior citizens will be prioritized in the injection of COVID-19 vaccine.
He also noted that the second criterion for consideration in the distribution of the vaccine is attack rate (COVID-19 cases) in certain areas.
“So talaga pong mauuna po talaga ang NCR (National Capital Region) dahil nandito po naman yung mga kaso. Meron nga po tayong bahagyang pagtaas
dahil sa post holiday na nakita naman natin na medyo naging complacent
ang ating mga kababayan (So NCR will be prioritized due to the its (COVID-19) case. We have a slight rise (of COVID-19 cases) due to the post Holiday season where the public became complacent (in maintaining the minimum health protocols),’’ Malaya said.
Malaya said that between 50 to 70 million Filipinos will be vaccinated.