MANILA - The Philippines has a "very good, comprehensive" vaccination plan, but it will be tested with the rollout when the vaccines against COVID-19 arrive this month, the representative of the World Health Organization in the country said Monday.
"I believe they have a very good, comprehensive plan. What we are concerned about is oftentimes the actual rollout faces challenges although you plan very well," Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe told ANC's Headstart.
He said the WHO is discussing "logistics arrangements" with the Department of Health and the National Task Force Against COVID-19. It is also in talks with the Department of Information and Communications Technology and local government units regarding the databases of who must receive the vaccines first.
"I believe that the readiness and the preparedness on the part of the Philippines is high and a test for that will be early rollout, which will happen in February," he said.
The Philippines is expecting some 5.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility within the first quarter of this year, with the earliest batch possibly arriving this month.
COVAX Facility is an international partnership which aims to help middle- to low-income countries secure COVID-19 vaccines. It has committed to provide for 20 percent of the population in the Philippines.
Abeyasinghe said the vaccines to be provided by COVAX is primarily earmarked for healthcare workers and the elderly, especially those with comorbidities "because by vaccinating those groups, we will be able to reduce the number of deaths."
There is a total of 525,618 cases in the country as of Sunday, with 10,749 deaths and 487,551 recoveries.