The country’s vaccine roadmap is still on track despite limited access to the global supplies of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines, National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Thursday.
Galvez said it is still possible to push the vaccine rollout this month.
“But most likely talaga, ang ano po natin iyong sa COVAX, titingnan po natin kasi iyong requirement, sa kanila po talaga manggagaling iyon (But most likely, we are still looking at the completion of requirements for the vaccine from the COVAX facility, it will be coming from them),” he said during the Palace virtual press briefing.
He said delays of Covid-19 vaccination rollouts are being experienced not only by the Philippines but other countries worldwide.
“But definitely, if just in case ay magkaroon po ng EUA [emergency use authorization] iyong iba po na mado-donate at saka po iyong darating sa procurement po natin ay puwede pa po, possible pa po ang February (if EUA will be given to those will be donated and other procured vaccines, the rollout would be still possible this February),” Galvez said.
While the management of the COVAX facility has yet to provide a definite date for vaccine arrival, Galvez assured the country is well-prepared for the vaccine deployment and other needed logistical requirements.
The country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved the EUA for Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines procured under the COVAX facility, he said.
“Sa ngayon po, ang definite pa lang po natin na mari-receive ay iyong Sinovac pagka-nagkaroon po ng EUA (Right now, the only definite vaccines that we may receive, is from Sinovac firm, if its EUA will be approved),” Galvez said.
He noted that the government’s series of vaccine rollout simulations is not limited to the arrival of the Pfizer vaccines.
“So iyong simulations po natin na ginagawa sa national at saka sa local, it covers all, iyong different types of vaccine po (The various simulations that we are conducting both in the national and local levels, it covers all the different types of Covid-19 vaccines),” he said.
He said the national and local governments alongside the private sector are preparing for the vaccine arrival and deployment of Covid-19 vaccines.
Preps, training of vaccinators
Galvez said there is still enough time for the vaccinators to undergo and acquire comprehensive training on the national inoculation program since the vaccine arrival will be made through tranches.
“May time pa naman po siguro tayo makapag-train dahil ang nakita po natin, iyong ating mga vaccine hindi naman po sabay-sabay darating (We still have time to train more vaccinators because as what we see, the vaccines will not arrive simultaneously),” he said.
Galvez said the country is expecting to receive 5 to 10 million doses of vaccine in the first and second quarter this year.
He said local government units have been tasked to identify the possible vaccination sites as well as to prepare for the recruitment and mobilization of the vaccinators who will facilitate the massive inoculation program.
“Iyon po pinapalaam namin na iyong ating mga vaccinations, hindi naman po iyan talagang simultaneous (We are reminding everyone that the vaccination rollout will not be done simultaneously),” he said. (PNA)