Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr said on Friday, January 22, that local government units (LGUs) and private business groups should consolidate orders for COVID-19 vaccines to avoid buying an excess supply for their communities.
Galvez explained the set up after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian questioned how the Duterte government would ensure private groups and local officials were not purchasing vaccines for the same individuals in their respective areas of work or residence.
“All orders should be integrated with LGUs considering in the end, its the LGU that will implement with the DOH (Department of Health) the inoculation program,” Galvez said during the Senate’s third hearing into the Duterte government’s COVID-19 vaccine program.
He added, “They should have some sort of public-private partnership at the local level, and then they will have integrated order through the provincial governor.”
Galvez said this was necessary so that only one point person would be responsible for all orders, and so that vaccine manufacturers were clear on orders to produce.
Why this matters
With limited funds to procure COVID-19 vaccines, the Duterte government has identified tripartite deals as one way the country can increase its orders for vaccines and secure doses for more Filipinos.
But Gatchalian said the current set up leaves no safeguard against possibly over-ordering scarce supply of vaccines.
The senator cited the example of Valenzuela City – led by his brother Mayor Rex Gatchalian – where vaccines were being ordered both by the local government and several factories in the city.
Galvez said LGUs agreed to consolidate all orders for their communities to avoid over-ordering vaccines, which could lead to possible wasted doses. The agreement was reached during a meeting with the leagues of mayors and provincial governors, he added.
According to Undersecretary Epimaco Densing, the Department of the Interior and Local Government also recently issued an advisory directing LGUs to limit the number of vaccines they will procure only up to 50% of their population.
He said the cap is meant to ensure LGUs do not spend all their funds on COVID-19 vaccines as resources are still needed for other pandemic or emergency response measures.
Aside from this, Densing said local officials are considering reallocating excess doses in their LGUs to other localities that do not have doses yet or do not have the funds to order vaccines on their own. – Rappler.com