Let’s do this! AFP all set for COVID vaccine rollout

Published February 26, 2021, 5:06 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is raring to do its part to ensure the successful nationwide rollout of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination program, a military spokesperson said Friday, Feb. 26.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) (MANILA BULLETIN)

“We, at the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are ready. Our Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, is focused on ensuring that the military is ready to fulfill its supporting roles once the rollout begins,” said Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo at a Laging Handa press briefing.

The first batch of the COVID-19 vaccines is set to arrive from abroad on Sunday, Feb. 28.

The AFP will play three supporting roles in the government’s national vaccination program to eliminate the threat of COVID-19, according to Arevalo.

These roles include ensuring the overall peace and security situation during the vaccination program, the lending of military medical personnel in areas where additional manpower is needed, and logistical support in transporting the vaccines from the cold storage facilities to the designated vaccine sites.

Arevalo also noted that Sobejana gave an order to vaccinate all of the 120,000-strong military personnel so they can fulfill their duties to help the government in the vaccination program.

“We do not want our personnel to be the carriers of the virus and bring the disease to our countrymen whom we want to serve,” he said.

To inoculate all of its personnel, the AFP created 72 vaccination teams and identified 47 vaccination sites within military camps that have treatment facilities. Twenty-seven vaccination sites have already acquired an authorization from the Department of Health (DOH) while 20 more are awaiting the go signal.

Of these, a total of 12 are located in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Region 1, Region 2, and Region 3, and are managed by the Northern Luzon Command (NoLCom); eight in Metro Manila, supervised by the Joint Task Force National Capital Region (JTF-NCR); 10 in Region 4A and Region 5, under the command of Southern Luzon Command (SoLCom); two in Region 4B, under the Western Command (WesCom), and six in Region 6, Region 7, and Region 8, under the Central Command (CentCom).

There are also a total of five vaccination sites in Region 9 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), under the command of the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom); and four sites in Region 10 and Region 11, under the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom).

We aim to inoculate 100 personnel per day,” Arevalo said.

Meanwhile, military camps which have no treatment facilities are directed to coordinate with the local government units and DOH offices for the establishment of a vaccination site.

It is likely that the Coronavac vaccine made by Chinese firm Sinovac will be used in inoculating the military personnel, Arevalo said.

He said the vaccination will be free of charge for all military personnel. However, he reiterated that soldiers will have to pay if they opt for another brand of vaccine.

“If they choose another brand, they have to pay for it since it was not the original brand that was given to us,” he said.