Local government units (LGU) have enough personnel for the COVID-19 vaccine deployment as the first wave of vaccine supplies is expected to arrive in the country within the month, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) national president and Quirino Governor Dakila Carlo Cua said.
“In the instance that the LGU doesn’t have enough personnel, the DOH [Department of Health] and the NTF [National Task Force] advised us na pwede po makipag-partner (that we can partner) with private hospitals, private practitioners to enlarge the manpower behind the vaccination rollout,” Cua said in an online media forum.
Cua said ULAP have conducted several activities to capacitate LGUs in the planning and implementation of processes related to the vaccine rollout such as masterlisting, microplanning, mapping of vaccination sites and teams, and human resource and management training.
“Masterlisting is an LGU led process and to consolidate the data LGUs were advised to use certain options such as Covid-19 electronic immunization registry,” he said.
The group also invited resource speakers from the national government to explain the vaccine procurement process and some pharmaceutical companies to present their products.
“In order to secure vaccines, LGUs enter into multilateral or tripartite agreement with the DOH, the NTF and the pharmaceutical company. In particular, the League of the Provinces of the Philippines will gather and collate the orders from the provinces and the League of Cities will gather the orders from independent and highly urbanized cities,” Cua said.
The DOH earlier said the LGUs cannot procure and roll out Covid-19 vaccines without coordination with the national government as it adheres to the principle of equity where delivery of services is biased towards the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
In preparation for the delivery and distribution of the vaccines in their respective areas, Cua said LGUs are advised to establish local Covid-19 vaccination operation centers with needed supplies and equipment, syringes and other consumables, and stable electricity and freezers which are critical in the implementation phase.
“LGUs are also given guidance in the identification of vaccination centers, the estimation of vaccine requirements, the preparation of a list of health personnel needed for the roll out, training of health personnel, preparation of cold chain storages and other logistical requirements, cascading information to the target groups, and spear-heading community engagements, activities and social preparations such as crafting of risk communications plans, vaccine communication campaign, mobilization of barangay personnel and other volunteers to assist in the actual vaccination,” he added.
As for the contact tracing regarding the United Kingdom variant of SARS-CoV-2, Cua assured the public that LGUs observe the guidelines set by the DOH and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“As always reminded by the NTF and the DOH, the preparation for the vaccine rollout must not diminish the manpower behind the contact tracing in Covid-19 management, so dapat hindi dapat maapektuhan nung management ng Covid ‘yung (so the Covid management should not affect the) vaccination rollout, so we really need to expand and get as many people as we can involve,” he said.
COVAX Facility Managing Director Aurélia Nguyen said their office will distribute 117,000 doses of Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccine and 5.5 to 9.2 million indicative doses of AstraZeneca AZD1222 vaccine to the country starting the third week of this month.
COVAX is a global initiative that ensures rapid and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for all countries regardless of their income level.