Prepare for ramped-up vaccination program, DILG tells LGUs

Published May 15, 2021, 3:29 PM

by Chito Chavez

As millions of coronavirus disease-2019 (CÒVID-19) vaccines continue to arrive in the country, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged the local government units (LGUs) on Saturday, May 15, to brace for more vaccine supplies and enhance their vaccination efforts with the targeted four million vaccination by the end of next month.

Patuloy ang pagdating ng mga vaccines sa bansa at kasabay nito ang pag-asang maging protektado at ligtas ang ating mga kababayan mula sa virus (The (COVID-19) vaccines continue to arrive in the country and with this comes the hope of providing protection and safety to the public against the virus). I am therefore calling on our LGUs to increase their capacity for vaccination so that we can administer 3-4 million jabs a month starting this June, ” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

Año said that the “target in the National Capital Region (NCR) is to do 120,000 jabs a day starting next month with the help of the private sector which has already started simulation exercises with the private supply chain experts.’’

So far, the country has received 7,764,050 total vaccine doses from various suppliers including the COVAX facility as of May 11, 2021 and 83 percent of this has been distributed to 3,688 vaccination sites across the country.

The DILG chief stressed that following the center of gravity principle, more vaccines will be allocated to the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Pampanga, Cebu, Davao, and other areas with high number of active cases to contain the spread of covid.

“Sa umpisa pa lang ay kasama na natin ang private sector sa ating vaccination efforts and nakikipagtulungan tayo sa kanila para agarang mabakunahan ang mga mamamayan, lalo na iyong mga nasa priority list (From the start the private sector is with us in our vaccination efforts and we are coordinating with them to expedite the vaccination of the people specifically those in the priority list),” he added.

Año also dismissed speculations made by Dr. Tony Leachon that the government might not be able to cope with vaccination as 1.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines delivered on May 8 are set to expire by the end of June.

“The 1.5 million AstraZeneca vaccines have already been deployed to various LGUs nationwide. one million of these will be taken as the first dose while some 525,600 doses have also been reserved for the second dose,” he stressed.

Año noted that Leachon “is painting a different picture to create panic and belittle or cast doubt on the government’s capacity to administer the doses.’’

At this time of the pandemic, Año emphasized the need to promote hope and cooperation and not resort to speculations and unjust criticisms.

“With the current daily average of 60,000-70,000 jabs per day, walang masasayang na vaccines at makakarating ito sa mga dapat bakunahan. We can definitely consume the 1.5 million Astra Zeneca doses in 30 days as set by Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez,” he added.

Meanwhile, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the LGUs can prepare by doing microplanning and simulations for ramped up vaccination to brace for the millions of vaccines already distributed and the millions more in the pipeline, the LGUs must identify additional possible vaccination sites, available local cold-chain storage facilities, and transportation mechanisms.

“Additional vaccination sites may also be visited by the DOH if the LGU needs assistance,” Malaya said.

Possible vaccination sites to be utilized for inoculation include infirmaries (private and public), rural health units, health facilities of other government agencies, private clinics, schools, barangay halls, and other open-air establishments.

Malaya added that the LGUs must ensure a sufficient vaccination workforce in their localities to support the increase in vaccination.

He noted that the LGUs may engage and include other professionals such as teachers, counselors, pharmacists, medical and allied health professionals and interns; and the private sector as part of the vaccination workforce.

“LGUs must also develop a firm workflow for particular vaccine requirements from storage to transport and administration,” Malaya added. (Chito A. Chavez)