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    Duterte approves national vaccine roadmap vs COVID-19

    MANILA, Philippines – The Palace confirmed on Monday, November 9, the approval of the National Task Force’s (NTF) Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap by President Rodrigo Duterte.

    Duterte approves COVID-19 national vaccine roadmap
    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 Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on November 5, 2020.

    Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr, who discussed details of the COVID-19 vaccine roadmap in his press briefing, said that the roadmap is in preparation for the vaccine. “Tulad ng madalas kong sabihin, the availability of the vaccine will be a game-changer – where we go from avoidance, to actively minimizing the threat of the infection,” said Secretary Roque.

    Meanwhile, while the whole world awaits for the vaccine, the Palace spokesperson has a reminder to the public. “Samantala po alalahanin po natin yung hinihingi ng ating Presidente: mask, hugas, iwas. Dahil ang gusto natin umabot tayo sa paglabas ng bakuna,” underscored Roque.

    Referring to the approved national vaccine roadmap, the Palace official said that the most important consideration is safety followed by efficacy, sensitivity, and cost and complexities of the supply chain requirements. Other considerations include access for clinical trials and regions/local production and distribution, complexities on the ground preparation and implementation, and world supply and demand on vaccines.

    The Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap has seven important stages as discussed by Sec. Roque, which will have corresponding government agencies as lead. Stage 1, which is also the most critical, is the scientific evaluation and selection that the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) are heading.

    The access and acquisition, which will guarantee access to the vaccines, is being spearheaded by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Finance (DOF). Procurement will be done by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PSDBM) and the DOF. Procurement, shipment, and storage will also be handled by the PSDBM and the Task Group Resource Management and Logistics (TGRML) of the NTF.

    Distribution and deployment of the vaccine will be handled by the PSDBM and TGRML. Stage 6 is the implementation and nationwide vaccination will have the DOH as lead agency in cooperation with national government agencies, local government units, among others. The last stage is assessment, evaluation, and monitoring, which will be done by the DOH, DOST, and the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health.

    The vaccine roadmap is expected to be implemented this year. According to the vaccine roadmap, the Philippines will have several options or decision points in terms of vaccine selection and access and options to obtaining the vaccine.

    In vaccine selection, decision points will include safety and efficacy, single dose versus two doses, the varying temperature needed for the cold chain facility, and whether it will be single source or multi-source.

    Meanwhile, access and options to obtaining the vaccine will consider our enrolment to the COVAX Facility with eight leading vaccine manufacturers, bilateral deals with the government and with vaccine companies, tripartite agreement between the government, private sector, and private company supported by another government, and multilateral modalities like pooled purchase.

    Roque also mentioned the prioritization strategy for the distribution of the vaccine. “Mauuna po yung mga mahihirap at indigents. Ito po yung nasa listahan natin ng 4Ps. Pangalawa ang frontliners, ang health care workers, mga sundalo, kapulisan, at yung mga essential services. Pangatlo, lahat ng Pilipino ay makakatanggap ng bakuna, without exception,” Roque explained.

    The Cabinet official said that the Palace is also continuously monitoring various vaccine studies happening around the world to ensure the safety and efficacy of the vaccine once it becomes available. He also gave updates on the plans of lead agencies regarding the vaccine, including vaccine development activities by the DOST, plans of the PSDBM on vaccine procurement and finance, and the activities being done by the DOH on vaccine deployment and roll-out.

    In the same press briefing, Mr. Yerik Cosiquen, President and CEO of ORCA Cold Chain Solution, assured that their company, if needed, is prepared to provide cold chain storage for the anti-COVID-19 vaccines as they already have the facility and proven distribution process and experience in handling vaccines.

    — The Summit Express

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