Gov't urged to decentralize COVID-19 vaccination, allow more firms to join drive

Gov't urged to decentralize COVID-19 vaccination, allow more firms to join drive
Frontliners get inoculated with Aztrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine during the continuation of vaccination for health workers and frontliners at Marikina Sports Complex on March 24, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday urged the national government to decentralize the country's COVID-19 vaccination program, which is still mostly implemented by local government units. 

Speaking on her weekly radio show aired over dzXL, Robredo also asked the government to prioritize senior citizens, seafarers, and overseas Filipino workers with any extra vaccine supplies, saying the three sectors have long been waiting to get vaccinated. Vaccination has been opened to the general public and to minors with comorbidities.

The coronavirus task force, in its latest update, said 51.48 million doses of vaccines have been administered around the country. 

"It's a waste [that] we have many vaccines now but it's too centralized. I hope they liberalize [for example] companies so that they can open up to their employees," she said in mixed Filipino and English.

"There are teachers who are going back to school, those who need to go back to work, need to be redeployed."

Robredo also said that her office's volunteers could offer to provide manpower in the event that vaccination programs across the country are lacking.

The Office of the Vice President has put up programs such as Vaccine Express sites in cooperation with various local government units in the country. In those programs, it was LGUs that supplied the vaccine stores to be used. 

READ: VP Robredo joins calls for increased vaccine supply outside of Metro Manila

This comes after more than one million doses of Pfizer vaccines arrived in the country on Friday night from the COVAX Facility.

"If there is a shortage of vaccines, we have many volunteers who are willing to do this. We just need a supply," she said in Filipino.

"We are willing to be the ones to vaccinate them. We will arrange it, just give us access to supply...but the problem is we don't have supplies."

Task force: No more problems with vaccine supply

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez earlier this week said that the National Task Force Against COVID-19 no longer had any problems with vaccine supply but admitted that deployment logistics to regional governments was becoming a struggle. 

To date, health authorities have recorded 2.75 million coronavirus infections in the country, 60,957 of whom are still classified as active cases.

The government is aiming to administer some 800,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines per day in November to achieve its goal of inoculating 70% of the population before the end of the year.

READ: Gov't should aim high instead of lowering 'realistic' year-end vaccination target — Robredo



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