PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Guillermo Eleazar has directed police units to coordinate with their respective local government units (LGUs) in preparation for the expansion of the government’s coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pediatric vaccination program.
“I have tasked police chiefs and unit commanders to maintain close coordination with LGU officials so that they will know what assistance police personnel can provide. Kailangang masiguro na masusunod ang health protocols kung ito ay gagawin sa mga vaccination sites at para hindi ito maging super spreader event,” Eleazar said.
“I am also urging police offices to help in educating and encouraging the parents to have their children vaccinated and protected from Covid-19. Sa ngayon, ito ang pangunahin nating proteksyon laban sa nakamamatay na sakit bukod sa pagsunod sa mga protocols,” he added.
LGUs were mulling the conduct of inoculation for children in their own vaccination sites.
At present, the pilot implementation of vaccination of children is being done in hospitals in Metro Manila.
The National Government prioritizes minors ages 15 to 17 who have comorbidities, such as medical complexity; genetic, neurologic and metabolic or endocrine conditions; cardiovascular disease; obesity; HIV infection; tuberculosis; chronic respiratory disease; renal disorders; and hepatobiliary diseases.
So far, 8,639 minors have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the National Task Force (NTF) urged LGUs to be more aggressive and creative in coming up with strategies to reach a wider population for vaccination in order to achieve a daily jab rate of 1 to 1.5 million.
NTF Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said they identified highly-urbanized cities (HUCs) and regions that would take the lead in pushing the country’s daily vaccination output to 1.5 million doses following the increase of vaccine supplies in the country and the opening of the vaccine rollout to the general population, including minors.
“Our goal is for LGUs to inoculate 70 percent of their eligible population with at least one dose by November. We cannot scale up our national vaccination output if we just settle with our current jab rate,” he said.
“With the steady arrival of bigger Covid-19 vaccine shipments, our LGUs must work double time to realize President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive, and that is, to continue to ramp up their vaccination rollout. Nagpla-plateau tayo noong mga nakaraang araw to just 400,000 to 500,000 jabs daily. If this will continue, hindi natin makukuha ang 50 million [fully vaccinated individuals] by year-end,” he added.
NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said the 50 cities across the regions that will be prioritized in the government’s vaccine deployment have higher impact to the economy.
Since February, the Philippines received a total of 94,678,340 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, in which more than 58.7 million doses were procured by the government, 24.3 million doses were donations from the Covax facility, 7.9 million were purchased by LGUs and the private sector, and 3.6 million doses were donated by other countries.
“As I have been telling our LGUs over the past several weeks, vaccine supply is no longer a problem for our country. Our main concern at this point is how to get these Covid-19 jabs into the arms of as many Filipinos as quickly as possible,” Galvez said.
As of October 22, a total of 55,168,455 doses have already been administered nationwide.
A total of 25,441,538 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated and this represents 32.98 percent of the Philippines’ target population and 23.09 percent of the country’s total population.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said apart from vaccine hesitancy, the accessibility to vaccination is among the issues in the government vaccination program.
“Meaning to say, if we have more vaccination sites, and bring more vaccination sites closer to the people -- either establishing (more) vaccination sites or assigning transport to get people (to the) vaccination sites -- mas maraming magpapabakuna,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)