Villanueva to IATF: Draw up guidelines for vaccine program’s priority list
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva on Wednesday urged the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to begin drawing up guidelines on a priority list to avoid overlaps in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, given the limited resources.
Villanueva said the IATF should have a clear-cut master list of beneficiaries, saying a person can fall under multiple categories based on the initial priority list laid out by the government.
“The IATF should start drawing up guidelines as early as now so that we can maximize the distribution of the vaccines given the limited supply. A person could easily fall under two and more categories, so there must be a clear set of guidelines on this,” Villanueva said in a statement.
“We should already be anticipating the kinds of issues we would encounter once the roll-out begins,” the senator added.
According to Villanueva, the IATF’s initial priority list is composed of frontline health workers (1.76 million), indigent senior citizens (3.78 million), remaining senior citizens (5.67 million), remaining indigent Filipinos (12.9 million), and uniformed personnel (about 525,523).
“We do not want overlaps in the priority list. Given the limited supply, we must ensure that each dose goes to the rightful beneficiary,” Villanueva said.
“While unemployment eased in October to 8.7% or about 3.8 million jobless workers, we must understand that the people also stopped looking for work. The slump is getting into the heads of our workers, and the vaccination program will help boost both the confidence of workers and our businesses as well,” he added.
Malacanang on the other hand listed Metro Manila, the Cordillera Administrative Region, Calabarzon, Davao Region and Cebu City as the prioritized regions for vaccination.
The Philippines is eyeing to procure some 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate 50 to 70 million Filipinos in 2021.
The country has already secured 25 million doses of Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine, 50,000 of which will arrive here by February.
According to vaccine czar, Carlito Galvez Jr., frontliners and health workers in Metro Manila will “likely” be the first to get inoculated next month. — Zac Sarao, INQUIRER.net trainee
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