DOH, vaccination units brace for delivery concerns

HANDBOOKS on the vaccination process were turned over to more than 40 local government officials Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in anticipation of delivery concerns that may arise when more supplies arrive and the Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) steps up its vaccination campaign against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said a “more organized distribution and allocation list” is needed when more vaccines arrive in May.

“There will really be (a) nightmare if we are not organized,” Bernadas said during the turnover of the handbook to the mayors and local government unit (LGU) representatives.

The community vaccination handbook of the Visayas Vaccine Operations Center (VVOC) was authored by retired general Melquiades Feliciano, deputy chief implementer for the Visayas of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF).

To minimize concerns, Bernadas said they will be preparing a report weekly on vaccine utilization by the LGUs.

The LGUs will be notified of the number of vaccines that they will be receiving within the week, which should also be disposed of within the week.

Each LGU’s allocation will depend on the capacity of the vaccine posts, which the LGUs themselves will also provide.

Bernadas said this is where the private sector, through the Project Balik Buhay (PBB), can help in terms of providing the vaccination sites.

PBB chair Edmun Liu said the PBB will follow the guidelines and await the announcement of the national government and DOH in implementing prioritization.

Liu said the lists of vaccine recipients from the private companies are also sent to the LGUs for approval.

Bernadas said all the names included in the PBB will be removed from the LGU’s list to prevent duplication.

Bernadas also explained the need to prepare a quick substitution list of recipients to fill in the slots that would be unused by those who fail to show up or whose vaccinations are deferred, and, thus, prevent vaccine wastage.

Consolacion Municipal Councilor Aurelio Damole, who is a medical doctor by profession, was concerned that the public might perceive the quick substitution list as a political tool.

“I am afraid that this substitution list might be… the public might think of it as a political tool to accommodate certain people which I hope it’s not,” said Damole.

Bernadas said those who will be on the quick substitution list are those who belong in the next priority group.

Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr., for his part, asked whether the LGUs can already proceed with the simultaneous vaccination of Priority Groups A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) along with the medical frontliners under A1.

He said he has noticed that the public have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, allowing themselves to be vaccinated only after family members or friends received the vaccine.

The DOH central office announced on March 29 that senior citizens and persons with comorbidities are already eligible for vaccination. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed the simultaneous inoculation of the first three priority groups to ramp up vaccinations in the country.

The VVOC handbook contains the vaccination processes and protocols adopted in Mandaue City.

Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino urged the local chief executives to use the handbook.

He said they must avoid the inefficiencies in some vaccination units, where vaccinees have to wait several hours before the vaccine is administered.

“We should learn from all of these, and I think we’ve been proactive to preempt potential hurdles. That is why we have the VVOC,” said Dino. (JJL)