UN mobilizes all its agencies to help ensure success of PH COVID-19 vaccination program

Published April 7, 2021, 10:27 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The United Nations Philippines has mobilized all the agencies and resources under its helm to reinforce and ensure the success of the country’s rollout of the coronavirus vaccination program. 

UN Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzales and the heads of all UN agencies stationed in the Philippines made this assurance on Wednesday during their meeting with Department of Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje and the team of DOH experts. 

The UN is already supporting the Philippine vaccination program through the COVAX Facility, the international cooperation established to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world, especially to low- and middle-income countries. 

On March 4, 2021, the Philippines initially received 525,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while 4,058,400 more doses are expected to arrive in the second quarter of 2021.  

In addition to the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Gonzales said the UN is providing logistics equipment like Mobile Storage Units, generators, and/or prefab offices and transport support to move medical supplies. The UN is also supporting local government Units (LGUs) with technical assistance to help ensure equity and inclusion in the vaccination program.  

As part of its commitment to leave no one behind, the UN is coordinating with the DOH and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to advocate for the inclusion of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, especially those belonging to priority vaccination groups, in the national vaccination program.  

In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the UN is involved in supplying cold chain management equipment including specialized cold chain vehicles, biosafety refrigerators, and ultra-low temperature freezers, among others.

It also trains healthcare workers on cold chain management and COVID-19 testing, and is addressing misconceptions about vaccination through nationwide information campaigns.  

“The vaccination campaign is a core component of the COVID-19 recovery phase and it requires full support from a wide range of partners. It also relies largely on full respect for prioritization policies and strong and nimble logistics. The UN is supporting the Philippines on both fronts and making sure that this phase of COVID19 recovery is a success,” Gonzales said.