DUMAGUETE CITY – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Friday said the national government is committed to providing equitable access and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine for the vulnerable sectors.
During the Pagdu-aw sa Dumaguete: Explain Explain, Explain Town Hall Meeting, Secretary Andanar underscored that the year 2021 will be a notable year, saying that the Filipino people will witness one of the biggest roll-out of vaccines in the country.
“As we move forward this 2021, the government is set to roll out the National COVID-19 vaccination program by the 3rd or 4th week of February,” he said, as he bared that high-risk metropolitan areas of the National Capital Region (NCR), Cebu, and Davao will be the pilot area for the vaccine inoculation.
He assured that priority will be given to frontline healthcare workers, senior citizens, and the indigents.
He clarified that the government has a “menu of vaccines” under negotiations to be able to meet the targeted 70 million Filipinos to be immunized. With this, two million Filipinos are expected to be vaccinated already by April 2021.
“The government does not have any policy which favors a specific vaccine brand or country from which it originates. With our current negotiations, we have ensured that we will receive at least 137 million doses and this may expand to 172 million doses by next year,” he said.
Together with key agencies, Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and various local government units, the town hall meeting aims to increase the level of confidence and acceptance of Filipinos on the vaccines eyed to be procured by the national government starting this February.
In press conference, Secretary Andanar also reiterated that local government units are allowed to purchase doses of vaccines from their local appropriations given that they are coordinated with the National Task Force against COVID-19.
The PCOO chief clarified this in line with the Dumaguete LGU’s announcement on allocating P30 million for the purchase of COVID vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA). Its inoculation process will also be aligned with the national government’s vaccination roadmap priority list.
“It depends on the LGU whether they would want to purchase their own vaccines. But rest assured that the government has the budget to implement the vaccination program nationwide,” he said.