Published: January 11-17, 2021
Many Local Government Units (LGUs) in the country race against time in the vaccine-buying spree abroad and a lot of them have already allotted millions of pesos from their funds to procure the anti-COVID-19 shots for their constituents. Sad to say, the poorer LGUs are left behind in the frantic purchase due to financial constraints.
Probably, these LGUs have no option but to wait for the massive inoculation program of the national government. Either they are too dependent on national aid since they have no sufficient money in their coffers to purchase the foreign-manufactured vaccines.
Be that as it may, the Department of Health (DOH) had reminded all LGUs that the national government adheres to the principle of equity where delivery of services prioritizes the vulnerable and the disadvantaged sectors of the populace.
It’s understandable that not all rich LGUs can give free vaccinations to each and every constituent in their localities.
Reports had said that the wealthy LGUs had already a signed deal with the overseas pharmaceutical companies offering COVID-19 vaccines.
The DOH, together with the National Task Force against COVID-19, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), had agreed that any LGUs cannot procure and roll out COVID-19 vaccines on their own. Hence, they must collaborate with the national government through the NTF and the DOH in a tripartite agreement involving the local governments and pharmaceutical companies.
Therefore, the efforts of LGUs must be aligned with the vaccine initiative of the national government which integrates and consolidates all resources.
The lead national agencies against COVID-19 were quick to appreciate the initiatives of the LGUs in their willingness to spend for vaccines. Vax Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. noted that LGUs’ close collaboration with the central government is paramount in the collective efforts towards the right track.
The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) issued by the FDA does not cover the commercial use of any purchased vaccines. This means that manufacturer cannot sell directly to the LGUs nor to any entity unless their deals have the National Government’s approval.
The central government hopes to receive from the foreign firms the first delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine next month of February, which will initially be used to inoculate the country’s frontliners before rolling out its vaccination program to the general population.
The state-run mass immunization program is already put in place, thus, we expect its smooth-sailing implementation throughout the country. (IS)