Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to supervise the transport and handling of COVID-19 vaccines, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to work closely with the Department of Health and coordinate with local government units (LGUs) to ensure the speedy delivery of vaccines to the provinces.
“Given the President’s directive, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the vaccines reach local governments as quickly as possible in good condition and that these vaccines are immediately utilized for inoculation,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
The DILG Chief said that ensuring the fast delivery of the vaccines is critical to the goal of achieving 4 million jabs by the end of June. “I’ve directed the PNP to secure these vaccines every step of the way and to ensure its fast delivery,” he said.
“In NCR, we strive to reach 120,000 jabs a day. This May our target is 2M vaccinations. This June, our target is 4M vaccinations, so we really need not only to ramp up the vaccination efforts in LGUs, but also to ensure that more vaccines reach more provinces to meet our overall target,” he said.
He said that the DILG will closely monitor the vaccination performance of each LGU and will call the attention of those who are lagging behind.
“In coordination with the DOH, we will closely monitor the performance of the LGUs and we will require daily reports from them to ensure that they are meeting their targets,” he said.
Following the incident in the Municipality of Makilala, Cotabato, Año urged all LGUs to strictly observe vaccine monitoring measures for COVID-19 vaccines kept in storage to prevent incidents of wastage.
He also stressed the need for LGUs to report on the transportation mechanism for the vaccines, to monitor if said transportation is compliant with the requisite safe-handling of the vaccines, following another incident wherein two boxes of COVID-19 vaccines bound for the Polillo Island in Quezon Province were nearly wasted after the boat carrying them capsized after hitting a partly submerged concrete post.
“We cannot afford to waste any COVID-19 vaccine, given how precious these are, so I am counting on our PNP and BFP personnel to assist our LGUs in the safe and fast delivery of vaccines in various parts of the country,” he said.
In DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2021-052, LGUs are urged to comply with specific temperature ranges of COVID-19 vaccine refrigeration and ensure effective cold chain management. This entails temperature maintenance for transport and storage and administration of the vaccines.
The MC also directs LGUs to report on the transport mechanism for the vaccines to monitor if said modes of transportation are compliant with the requisite safe-handling of the vaccines to avoid spoilage or wastage.
He also reminded LGUs to develop a firm workflow for particular vaccine requirements from storage to transport and administration to ensure the smooth management of COVID-19 vaccines.
“In our goal to achieve herd immunity by the end of this year, we must ensure that every step in the vaccination process is properly executed,” he said.
As of May 17, 2021, 7,149,020 out of 7,779,050 COVID-19 vaccine doses were already deployed to the vaccination centers nationwide.
Of these, 3,001,875 vaccine doses have been administered; 2,282,273 were given as a first dose while 719,602 doses were used for the second dose.