IATF eyes priority areas for COVID-19 vaccination


Posted at Jan 07 2021 01:40 PM | Updated as of Jan 07 2021 02:16 PM

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken Oct. 30, 2020. Dado Ruvic, Reuters/File

MANILA - The inter-agency task force on COVID-19 will determine which areas in the country shall be prioritized for the vaccine against the disease, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said Thursday.

The IATF will discuss this in a meeting on Thursday afternoon, he said.

This comes after a number of local government units set aside funds to procure COVID-19 vaccines for their respective constituents.

President Rodrigo Duterte also approved of a tripartite agreement among local government units, the national government and pharmaceutical firms for the vaccine procurement.

"Hindi naman ito (These are not) for commercial use, these vaccines. This is really going to be a national government effort with the President’s approval of the LGUs supporting the national government," Duque told ANC's Headstart.

"This is a complementary effort not uncoordinated effort," he said when asked about criticism that the LGUs planning to purchase their own vaccines seemed uncoordinated.

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Sec. Carlito Galvez, the country's vaccine czar, earlier said the Philippines is in "advance" negotiations with 6 makers of vaccines against COVID-19 as it seeks to secure some 148 million doses. These manufacturers are: Novavax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and Gamaleya.

The Philippines is also expected to receive doses for 20 percent or 22 million Filipinos through the global vaccine partnership known as COVAX, he said.

The government aims to inoculate 50 million to 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity against the disease.

"The LGUs, hopefully they will closely coordinate with the vaccine czar and enter through a tripartite agreement," Duque said in the interview.

Although no vaccine has been approved for local use, drug makers Pfizer and AstraZeneca have sought emergency use authorization. Processing and evaluation will take 3 to 4 weeks, according to Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo.


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