Robredo: Lay out details of COVID-19 vaccine distribution this early

Vice President Leni Robredo urged the government to lay out details of the distribution of upcoming COVID-19 vaccines this early to prevent problems and delays later on.

During her weekly radio show with co-host Ely Saludar, Robredo recounted that in a briefing she attended, she learned about prioritization in vaccine distribution. In that plan, she said, healthcare workers would be among the first ones to receive the vaccine.

The Vice President then suggested that some details should also be discussed early on, like preparing a list of recipients and identifying the locations where the vaccines should be sent to first.

"Halimbawa, healthcare workers, dapat alam na natin, ilan ba sila? Ilan ba sila, sino sila, para kapag dumating, mayroon nang recipient, hindi iyong gagawin natin iyong listahan kapag nandiyan na iyong vaccine," Robredo said.

(For example, healthcare workers, we should already know how many are they, who are they? So that when the vaccines come, we already have a list of recipients, instead of creating that list only when the vaccines arrive.)

She continued: "Ano ba iyong prioritization as far as iyong location is concerned?... Walang problema kung mapo-provide mo na agad lahat iyon all at the same time. Pero halimbawa mas kaunti iyong dumating, paano iyong pasunod-sunod na pag-prioritize?"

(What's the prioritization as far as location is concerned?... There's no problem if we can provide all of them at the same time. But let's say the vaccines that arrived were fewer. What's the order of priority?)

Robredo also pushed for defining who would fall under the category of "healthcare workers."

She raised the possibility of including a budget for the storage of the vaccines as well.

"Habang naghihintay tayo, gawin na natin (While waiting, let's do these already)," she said. 

Robredo later added: "Para kapag dumating, wala na tayong ibang aasikasuhin kung hindi iyong pag-dispense na lang. Kung gagawin natin na doon pa lang tayo gagalaw, baka mahirapan, baka masyadong ma-delay."

(So that when the vaccines come in, we would just have the dispensing to take care of. If we go over these details just when the vaccines arrive, we might encounter difficulties and delays.)

The Vice President said she hopes the vaccine distribution would not be like the cash assistance program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, where problems on the list of recipients were reported as the program was rolled out.

At least two coronavirus vaccines have been reported to have above 90% effectiveness. In the US, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, as well as biotech company Moderna, are seeking approval of their respective vaccines for mass distribution. –