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DOH-7 in talks with LGUs for storage of COVID-19 vaccines

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - January 22, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas and some local government units in metro Cebu have started planning for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

DOH-7 spokesperson Mary Jean Loreche said the cold storage of coronavirus vaccines is included in the planning of the health department and the city governments of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

DOH-7 is coordinating with LGUs for the cold storage facilities as it prepares for the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines.

She said a series of meetings with LGUs and various stakeholders will be conducted soon to have a smoother mass rollout of vaccines.

Presidential Communications Operations Office secretary Martin Andanar announced that the government is set to roll out the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program by the third or fourth week of February in major cities with high attack rates such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Davao City.

The government targets to vaccinate at least two million people by April.

In a press statement released by the Philippine Information Office-7, Andanar said healthcare workers, senior citizens, and the indigents will be prioritized in the vaccination program.

“With our current negotiations, we have ensured that we will receive at least 137 million doses and this may expand to 172 million doses by next year," Andanar said in a recent communication campaign kickoff of the Philippine National Vaccination Roadmap for the Visayas in Cebu City.

Andanar said the government is already in the third phase of the national action plan in the continued fight against COVID-19.

This plan entails three strategies: Response, Vaccination, and Recovery wherein the focus of response is P.D.I.T.R.M. which means Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, Reintegrate, and Mainstream the new normal.

While the vaccination stage has four phases: Assess, Plan, Prepare, and Execute.

For recovery, the plan's main objective is to lessen the COVID-19 transmissions while slowly opening the economy and recovering from economic losses.

For his part, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has encouraged Cebuanos to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19.

The prelate said this is not only for the protection of one’s self, but also for others.

“In principle, we encourage people to have vaccinated. In the spirit of the Holy Father, ang iyang punto, proteksyon nato, proteksyon gihapon sa uban, “said Archbishop Palma.

In line with this, Palma said the vaccination among priest and the budget for the purchase of vaccines will be tackled in a meeting next week.

“In all probability, we would also discuss priorities, including the budget,” he said.

Palma, however, clarified that they will also coordinate with the LGUs regarding this matter as a government protocol.

“Sa karon, we closely coordinate with the LGU, para nato, mao man gyud ang protocol nila in everyplace thru LGU,” said Palma.

Palma has not openly expressed preference for any particular vaccine brand.

“As regards to details, wala ta mag ingon na we act on our own. We closely coordinate with the LGU.I believe ang mga vaccinations with collaborative efforts with the LGU gyud na,” he said.

Palma is also asking the public to keep an open mind to the vaccines.

“Mas maayo nga open kita. Nag ampo man gani tag naa na untay vaccine, karon naa na...unsa mang tang klase kung dili man ta pa vaccine?” he said.

But while the COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available here, Palma asked the faithful to keep on praying and to always be mindful of the health protocols set to prevent contracting or transmitting the virus.

“Padayon kitang mag ampo, amping, ambit. The whole idea there is that, let’s try to be mindful with the protocols talaga,” he said. — Caecent No-ot Magsumbol with Rowena Capistrano, KQD (FREEMAN)

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