No change in vaccine plans despite designation of Galvez as ‘vaccine czar’ — DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) assured Wednesday that the designation of former military chief Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. as the country’s COVID-19 vaccine czar will not bring changes to its vaccine plans.
“Wala po tayong babaguhin sa ating mga proseso (We will not change any process) just because Sec. Galvez was assigned as vaccine czar. All the processes would be continued,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media forum.
She added that Galvez, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer, will handle the purchasing, negotiations, and distribution of the vaccine in different parts of the country while medical experts would focus on regulatory approval to ensure its safety and efficacy.
“Iyong ating regulatory process to ensure that the vaccine would be safe and efficacious ay ipapatupad pa rin natin,” the DOH spokesperson said.
(Our regulatory process to ensure that the vaccine would be safe and efficacious will still be implemented.)
She added: “No processes would be changed, madadagdagan lang po siguro because we now have this vaccine czar, baka mag-aadd siya ng more expeditious na mga proseso para mas mapabilis po tayo.”
(Maybe we will add some more because we now have the vaccine czar, who may include more expeditious processes to make us move faster.)
This reflects Malacañang’s explanation of the designation of a former military chief over a medical expert in the critical task, saying that the job needs logistics and managerial skills.
“So it’s more of a logistics challenge than a medical challenge. Ang medical issue lang po na involved dito ay kung safe po iyong vaccine, at iyan naman po ay tututukan ng FDA,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
(The only medical issue involved here is whether the vaccine is safe, and that is what the FDA will focus on.)
During a televised meeting with key government officials on Monday, Duterte announced Galvez’s additional designation as vaccine czar.
Duterte has been criticized for his proclivity in appointing retired generals to key civilian government posts. He said he preferred military men because they are disciplined and obedient.
The President, who has repeatedly described the uniformed personnel as the backbone of his administration, earlier said soldiers would lead the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination.
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