LGUs await EO on payment for COVID-19 vaccines

Marje Pelayo   •   February 11, 2021   •   491

MANILA, Philippines — Local government units (LGUs) are all set to pay for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines once the delivery arrives.

Most LGUs in Metro Manila and in other regions have entered into a tripartite agreement with Astrazeneca for the vaccine supply.

According to San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, the contract requires LGUs to pay 20% of the total amount as down payment.

However, only 15% down payment is allowed under the Philippine procurement law.

“May pera naman ang LGUs. May pera ang national government. Ang tanong na lang: Ano ba ang tamang prosesong papagdaanan upang hindi naman din kami makasuhan bilang mga mayor?” Zamora said.

For his part, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. assured that Malacanang will issue an executive order regarding the payment for the vaccines.

He said local chief executives have nothing to worry about because President Rodrigo Duterte has the authority to allow any payment higher than the 15% down payment without violating the procurement law.

“Dahil may kalamidad po tayo itong pandemic, pwede namang taasan ng Presidente ito dahil tumutulong na lang ang mga Alkalde at Tripartite naman ito,” Abalos said.

“Bago mag-advance payment para hindi naman mapahamak ang ating mga mayor ay gagawa ng Executive Order. Nakausap ko na si Executive Secretary noong isang araw nakita ko na yung draft at ilalabas na ito. Nothing to worry about dito,” he assured.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Allan Velasco recently filed House Bill 8648 or the Emergency Vaccine Procurement Act of 2021.

The proposed measure will allow LGUs to directly procure vaccines from pharmaceutical companies.

Once enacted into law, the bidding process for the procurement of vaccines will be shortened. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

NVOC assures no COVID-19 vaccines destroyed due to recent storms

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The National Vaccinations Operations Center (NVOC) on Monday assured that no COVID-19 vaccines were affected in the onslaught of two storms, Jolina and Kiko, that barrelled through the country last week.

In a televised briefing, NVOC representative Dr. Kezia Rosario said the COVID-19 vaccine shots were transported temporarily to provincial health offices for safekeeping in areas affected by the storms.

Rosario also said that even cold chain storage facilities housing the vaccines were safe.

 “Lahat ng bakuna natin during the time of the bagyo were safe po at na-store po siya properly at hindi po tayo nagkaroon ng excursion sa temperature nito. So they are still effective and puwede pa po siyang ibigay sa mga vaccinees natin,” she said.

During the onslaught of Jolina, at least 19 municipalities in the Bicol region suspended vaccination operations while 49 areas in the Eastern Visayas region stopped the inoculation process.

At least three towns in Cagayan Valley also halted their vaccine rollouts due to Typhoon Kiko.

Rosario, however, said that the vaccination operations in the said areas have since resumed when the skies cleared.

The NVOC has yet to get an update on the vaccination rollout in Batanes that was battered by Kiko over the weekend.

“We do not have any updates pa po kung ilan iyong municipalities ng Batanes. But as of now, we know that all of the vaccines were transported doon sa provincial health offices for storage for the time being. And iyong sa Itbayat na vaccines, it was also transported sa district hospital nila for the time being,” she said.

The NVOC official assured that they have prepared response plans during calamities to ensure the safety of the vaccine supply.

“We also have rolled out ‘no and enforced iyong pag-establish ng mga vaccine security teams not only in the National Vaccine Operations Center kung hindi po sa Regional Vaccine Operations Center natin at saka sa Local Vaccine Operations Center,” she said.

“Sila po ay mag-i-ensure that bago pa man dumating ang bagyo nakahanda na po lahat ng preparations para maprotektahan natin iyong cold chain at saka ma-maintain natin iyong temperature ng mga vaccines natin. Kung kailangan sila i-transport immediately, gagawin po iyon,” she added.

Generators are also on standby in case of power interruptions that may affect cold storage facilities.

“And also, na-orient na po iyong mga vaccination teams natin that once the bagyo ay matapos na po ay ma-ensure nila that they can resume the vaccination activities immediately at saka mabigay nila iyong mga bakuna immediately,” Rosario said.

PH gov’t to send more COVID-19 vaccine shots to provinces – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Other regions will soon be getting bigger allocations of COVID-19 vaccines as part of efforts to address supply inequity and increase the vaccination rate among provinces, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Galvez said the distribution of more vaccine shots to other provinces will be implemented under the government’s recalibrated deployment strategy.

 “We have already started to employ a new strategy in supply allocation wherein the primary consideration is given to the number of unvaccinated individuals per region or local government unit,” said Galvez, who also serves as chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19.

Through this new approach, Galvez believes that the NTF will be able to strike a balance between the number of unvaccinated individuals per region, their respective target population, and the number of doses in the country’s supply inventory.

“Sa ngayon, ang prayoridad na ay sa ating mga rehiyon so they can start expanding their vaccine rollout to priority groups A1 until A5,” he added.

According to Galvez, the move is also in response to the request of some local chief executives for bigger allocation as their vaccination program has been limited to the priority sectors of healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities, while other cities in the country have already started inoculating their essential workers and indigenous people.

Galvez earlier said that the country is expecting to receive 25 million vaccine doses for the month of September.

The bulk of this supply will be deployed to Regions 1, 3, 4A, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, and BARMM.

The vaccine czar said that the vaccine supply to be deployed in high-risk cities and municipalities will be directly shipped to them and will not be included in the batches sent to the provinces.

“This mechanism will be more efficient because those areas with high economic and social risks will be able to receive their allocation immediately and inoculate their constituents at a faster rate,” Galvez said.

The National Capital Region, which has fully vaccinated 45.51% of its target population, will receive a smaller allocation this September, he added.

Meanwhile, Galvez bared that preparations are now underway for the second wave of procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Patapos na ‘yung first wave ng procurement natin, which is our supply for this year. We have already an assured supply of 187.6 million doses from various sources kaya maliban sa pagsiguro sa maagang deliveries ng mga bakunang ito, pinaghahandaan na rin natin ang pagbili ng mga bakuna na kabilang sa mga second generation of vaccines,” he said.

He said that an initial budget of USD45 million has been earmarked for this second wave of vaccine purchases.

The Philippines has so far received 52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers since February.

As of August 31, a total of 33,706,295 doses have been administered in the country – over 19.7 million have received their first dose while 13.9 million have been fully vaccinated.

Philippines receives fresh batch of 15,000 Sputnik V doses

Marje Pelayo   •   September 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 15,000 doses of Sputnik V Component 2 COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the country on Tuesday evening (August 31).

This fresh supply of the Russian vaccine will be used as second doses.

The shipment is part of the 25 million doses of COVID vaccines the Philippines is expecting to receive this month of September.

According to National Task Force (NTF) against COVID 19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, the supply for this month will be composed of:

12 million doses of Sinovac;
5 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech;
2 million doses of Moderna;
1 million doses of Astrazeneca;
1 million doses of Sputnik Light;
3 million doses from the COVAX facility; and
1 million doses to be donated by a bilateral partner.

Based on the NTF’s report, the country has administered a total of 33,306,355 doses of COVID vaccines nationwide as of August 30.

Of this number, 19.4 million doses were given as the first shot, while over 13.8 million individuals have received the second dose and are now fully-vaccinated.

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