MANILA - Several cities in Metro Manila and other highly-urbanized areas in the country have drafted their COVID-19 immunization plan ahead of the expected rollout next month, an official said Monday.
Some 5.6 million doses of vaccines from the COVAX Facility is expected to arrive this month and the inoculation might begin in March, said Epimaco Densing III, Undersecretary for Operations of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
At least 30 local governments have signed tripartite agreements with the national government and drugmakers, he added.
"There’s no room for failure in the national vaccination program. Ito na po ang magbibigay hudyat sa'tin kung makaka-recover tayo this year para mapaganda natin ang ating kalusugan at maibalik natin ang kasaganahan ng ekonomiya," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(There’s no room for failure in the national vaccination program. This will signal if we can recover this year so we can improve our health and our economy.)
"Kami po ay nakikisuyo na pagbigyan ho natin itong importanteng yugto sa paglaban sa COVID-19, itong pagbabakuna," he added as he urged the public to be informed on various COVID-19 vaccines.
(We urge the public to give importance to this important chapter in our fight against COVID-19, the vaccination.)
Local governments are required to create a vaccination plan but are not mandated to submit it to the DILG, Densing said. The agency is eyeing Pasig City's immunization plan as a "model" for other areas, he added.
The national government will prioritize areas with high infection rates like the capital region and will also take into consideration whether the area has cold chain storage facility, Densing said.
"Susundin po natin ang priority listing sectors: healthcare frontliners, mahihirap na senior citizens, lahat ng senior citizens, mahihirap na kababayan, uniformed personnel, essential workers," he added.
(We will follow priority sectors: healthcare frontliners, poor senior citizens, all senior citizens, indigent, uniformed personnel, essential workers.)
The health department and the World Health Organization have so far approved public and private hospitals, rural health units, and barangay health centers as inoculation venues, according to Densing.
Government is "open" to proposals to use schools, as suggested by Pasig City, and churches that have offered their facilities, he said.
"Most probably, kung meron tayong kababayan d'yan na may background sa medisina at nangangailangan ang kanilang local na gobyerno ng additional na tao para tumulong sa vaccination team ay pwede po sila mag-volunteer at welcome po sila," he added.
(Most probably, if there are people who have a background in medicine and their local government needs additional people to assist the vaccination team, they're welcome to volunteer.)
The Philippines, which has logged 525,618 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Sunday, including 27,318 active infections, aims to inoculate up to 70 million people to achieve herd immunity against the virus.