The government has assured the public of a sound, sustainable and fully integrated vaccine deployment and immunization program to combat the prevailing pandemic.
At a recent House committee hearing, National Task Force Against Covid-19 and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government will adopt a whole-of-nation and whole-of-society approach in the rollout of the vaccination campaign that will be done through collaborative efforts with local government units (LGUs) and the private sector.
Through a tripartite agreement, Galvez said LGUs and the private sector will join hands to ensure equitable access to the vaccines, and the government will prioritize “high-risk areas” in its vaccine distribution.
He assured the national government will augment LGUs who cannot afford to procure vaccines on their own and will shoulder the costs of the vaccines and other logistical supplies for LGUs which do not have enough funds for the inoculation of their residents.
Galvez announced too that the World Health Organization (WHO), together with pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson will administer solidarity clinical trials in the country. The WHO will provide 15,000 doses of Johnson&Jonhson vaccine for trial, to be conducted in February. The vaccine deployment will be done in a synchronized manner.
He also said Pfizer vaccines might arrive in the country by February 20. About 50,000 Sinovac vaccines will be deployed likewise as early as February, while Novavax and AstraZeneca vaccines may arrive in March and April.
“And also the Moderna vaccine may come in May, while some 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines procured by the private sector may arrive too by May,” he added.
“The majority of the seven vaccine portfolio, however, will come during the third quarter, early July and August,” he continued.
Galvez said the country is now in the preparation phase before the initial rollout of the national immunization program. “We have one month to prepare and our implementation phase might be February 20,” he said.
He likewise assured the country has available cold chain facilities required for storing the Pfizer vaccine, which needs a negative 70°C storage temperature, and that the government is now preparing the major hubs of cold chain facilities located in Metro Manila and in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, as well as Cebu and Davao.
The government, he added, has also entered into a long-term partnership with vaccine manufacturers through supply agreements, and has asked vaccine developers to accredit more cold chain facility providers in the country.