MANILA — The inter-agency task force leading the country's pandemic response has created a "cluster" that will lead the immunization drive against the novel coronavirus, Malacañang said Friday.
The IATF, which met Thursday, abolished the task group that it earlier created to import and distribute the future cornavirus vaccine, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Instead, the group created a "Vaccine Cluster" under the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19. The cluster would be led by NTF Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr, whom President Rodrigo Duterte this week tapped as the country's "coronavirus vaccine czar", Roque said in a public briefing.
The vaccine cluster will have executive committee members and advisory groups, he said.
The IATF also gave Galvez the following duties, among others, Roque said in a statement.
- Coordinate across various agencies, actors, and technical working groups on behalf of the health department
- Facilitate the early issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration with the Food and Drugs Administration
- Lead the timely conduct of Health Technology Assessment (HTA), as necessary
- Negotiate vaccine price
- Come up with consensus on prioritization of vaccine recipients
- Determine deliver system and whether to tap private sector, develop protocol on accessing vaccines and registration with primary health care providers
- Set up surveillance system to monitor vaccine effects
The Philippines has Southeast Asia's second highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths after Indonesia.
The health department on Thursday reported 1,594 novel coronavirus infections and 42 additional deaths. The agency said total confirmed cases increased to 389,725 while deaths reached 7,409.
— With a report from Reuters