Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday that more than 35 million Filipinos will be prioritized to receive vaccines against COVID-19.
In a public briefing, Galvez said that the priority list of vaccine recipients came from the Department of Health (DOH) and was created with the guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Meron na po tayong listahan ng more than 35 million Filipinos nasa priority listing. 'Yun po ay ibinigay po ng ating Department of Health base rin po sa guidance ng ating President,” he said.
As a strategy, Galvez said the vaccination will start in areas that are most affected by the pandemic as well as those considered as business centers so the country will immediately feel its effect.
Areas Galvez identified include the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon, Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro.
Then, the vaccination will proceed to accommodate the priority sectors.
“Ang pinakauna nga is healthcare workers at saka yung mga frontliners. Kasama po sa mga frontliner na ito ay mga police at sundalo, at saka ‘yung ating mga serviceman,” Galvez said.
“Kasama rin po dito ang mga essential workers ng DSWD, DepEd, at government agencies, at ‘yung sinasabi nating vulnerable, poor communities,” he added.
Earlier, he said that the government is planning to administer the COVID vaccine to 20 up to 30 million Filipinos annually.
According to him, 60 to 70 million Filipinos are targeted for the COVID vaccination program, adding that the government can only afford more or less 20 to 30 million inoculations a year.
“At the same time, titingnan po natin talaga rin na kung alin po ang safe at effective na vaccine,” he added.
For the best case scenario, Galvez said the mass vaccination will be launched either by the second quarter of 2021 or by the middle next year.
At the same briefing, Galvez also expressed confidence that cold chain facilities in the Philippines, where the vaccines will be stored, will be managed effectively.
“Palagay ko wala naman magiging problema kasi it’s a logistics issue na puwede natin planuhin within six months,” he said, without identifying the vaccine distributor.
Galvez said he visited on Tuesday the cold storage as well as the cold chain refrigerators in Southern Philippines Medical Center.
“Kung 2 to 8 degrees, wala tayong problema. May mga establishment na po tayo,” he said.
However, Galvez pointed out that the government is still in talks with various consortia to secure cold storage with -20 to -80 degrees Celsius temperature. —LBG/KBK, GMA News