PH forms task group for distributing COVID-19 vaccines

Pia Ranada
PH forms task group for distributing COVID-19 vaccines

This handout picture taken on August 6, 2020 and provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund shows the vaccine against the coronavirus disease, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. (Photo by Handout / Russian Direct Investment Fund / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Russian Direct Investment Fund / Handout " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Handout Russian Direct Investment Fund/AFP

The Department of Health is spearheading the group

The Philippine government’s COVID-19 task force stepped up preparations for the distribution of a vaccine, putting the Department of Health (DOH) in charge of a group of agencies that would lead the immunization drive.

In a meeting on Thursday, October 29, the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) created a “COVID-19 Immunization Program Management Organizational Structure.”

“The DOH has been directed to immediately convene the Task Group COVID-19 Immunization Management and establish sub-task groups as necessary,” said Presidential Spokesman and task force spokesman Harry Roque on Friday.

The task group was ordered to “ensure the successful and efficient deployment” of COVID-19 vaccines “to target populations,” he added.

In the government’s alphabet soup of groups created to address the pandemic, the vaccine task group would be under the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF), which implements the policies formulated by the IATF-EID.

Task groups have subgroups under them.

The vaccine task group is expected to hold a meeting “at the soonest possible time,” said Roque.

Last week, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto urged Malacañang to appoint a “vaccine czar,” or an official who can solve the challenges of getting the COVID-19 vaccine and making it accessible to Filipinos.

Must Read

Recto urges Palace to name COVID-19 vaccine czar

These challenges may include establishing cold chain distribution for vaccines that may require storage at ultracold temperatures, like minus 70 degrees Celsius for vaccines being developed by US firms Moderna and Pfizer.

The ramped up preparations come as a handful of promising vaccine candidates are expected to wind down their Phase 3 clinical trials, a stage where tens of thousands of volunteers are given the vaccine and observed for efficacy and side effects.

Must Read

Duterte wants government-to-government deal for COVID-19 vaccine

Duterte wants government-to-government deal for COVID-19 vaccine

The Duterte administration is particularly elated about promising news about Chinese vaccines. The government is banking on a commitment from China that the Philippines will get priority access to these vaccines.

Government experts gave an optimistic projection that a vaccine will be approved by the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration and ready for distribution in the months of April to June next year. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at