News Release

Gov’t taps military for vaccine rollout

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his talk to the people at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on January 25, 2021. KARL ALONZO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The military will play an important role in the government COVID-19 vaccine rollout through the use of its facilities and its personnel’s know-how, the country’s defense chief said.

In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said they accepted the offer of businessman Joey Concepcion to train military-medical personnel in conducting vaccination drive especially in the provinces.

The training will start next week in time before the first vaccine delivery arrives, Lorenzana said.

The military could also help in storing and transporting temperature-sensitive vaccines. Lorenzana said the Philippine Navy has four ships equipped with freezers with temperatures ranging from -15 to -18 degrees. The freezers have a total capacity of five tons.

“Puwede po nating gamitin ito ‘pag magta-transport ng bakuna mula Manila at sa mga islands dito sa Visayas at saka dito sa Luzon,” he told the President.

The Philippine Coast Guard, on the other hand, also has nine ships with similar equipment. The PCG freezers have temperatures ranging from -20 to -25 degrees, which, according to the defense chief, will also be ideal for transporting the vaccines. The freezers have a total capacity of about 526 cubic feet.

Among the temperature-sensitive vaccines include those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, which according to experts, would be likely administered in urban centers for easier handling and storage.

“Ngayon po doon sa rollout na ‘yan at ang Armed Forces po ay nasa forefront ng rollout kasi mayroon tayong — marami tayong hospital — hospitals ng mga Army at saka ‘yung area commands na nagkalat sa buong bansa,” he added.

The President said previously that he would tap the police and the military in carrying out the government mass vaccination program citing their nationwide command and control structure. PND