WITH the continuous arrival of millions of CÒVID-19 vaccines in the country, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Saturday urged local government units (LGUs) to brace for more vaccine supplies and ramp up their vaccination efforts in order to reach four million jabs by 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. 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 the target in the National Capital Region is to do 120,000 jabs a day starting next month with the help of the private sector who has started simulation exercises with the private supply chain experts.
The country has so far received a total of 7,764,050 vaccine doses from various suppliers including the COVAX facility as of May 11, 2021 and 83% of this has been distributed to 3,688 vaccination sites across the country.
Año said 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,” he said.
The DILG Secretary also dismissed speculations from 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 said.
Año said Dr. Leachon is painting a different picture to create panic and belittle or cast doubt on the government’s capacity to administer the doses. “Sa panahon ng pandemya, ang kailangan natin ay pag-asa at hindi spekulasyon at paninira. Magtulungan na lang po tayo,” he said.
“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 to brace for the millions of vaccines already distributed and the millions more in the pipeline, the LGUs can prepare by doing microplanning and simulations for ramped up vaccination.
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,” he 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.
He also said LGUs must ensure a sufficient vaccination workforce in their localities to support the increase in vaccination. 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,” he said.