Military to help transport vaccines
The military will help transport and distribute COVID-19 vaccines around the country, especially in remote areas, once available, the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Gen. Gilbert Gapay, said on Monday.
“[T]he AFP will help out in transporting and distributing the vaccines, maintain peace and order and assist in other efforts with which the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) may need help,” Gapay said at the Laging Handa public briefing.
“We’ll be guided by the provisions and the guidelines to be published by the Inter-Agency Task Force—utilizing our air, naval and ground assets we will help distribute the vaccine,” he said.Gapay noted that vaccines are delicate, require cold storage and need to be administered immediately. “We can help there in [the] just-in-time delivery and administration of the vaccine.” he said.
But “[n]ot everyone could be given the vaccine,” he said, citing the peace and order situation in some areas.
Gapay said the government would be guided by a priority list led by health workers and including seniors and indigents.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas said the government should conduct an inventory of its airplanes, in line with the transport of the vaccines.
“While our Air Force has its work already cut out for them, the government would need more logistical support to roll out the COVID-19 immunization program immediately. We need to have as much of our people vaccinated as fast as we can,” he said in a statement.
“To ensure the efficient use of aircraft owned by GOCCs (government-owned and -controlled corporations) and civilian agencies, they must temporarily be placed under the military’s flight operations or control for the specific purpose of vaccine distribution,” Vargas said. —WITH A REPORT FROM JULIE M. AURELIO INQ
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