MANILA – The national government will consolidate the procurement of the coronavirus jabs with the local government units (LGUs) and private sector to avoid a possible wastage of vaccines due to acquiring excessive volumes, officials of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 said Friday.
National Policy Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer, and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said integrated orders of Covid-19 vaccines should be made by the LGUs and the private sector to monitor the procured volumes of the vaccines.
“Considering that at the end, the LGUs along with the Department of Health (DOH) will implement the inoculation program, so our recommendation to them, is to make some sort of public-private partnership at the local level and have an integrated order through the provincial governor,” Galvez said during the resumption of the Senate hearing on the government’s Covid-19 vaccine acquisition program.
Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said they already have issued an advisory to all LGUs who wish to procure vaccines on their own to coordinate with their provincial governments for the purpose of consolidation.
“For the component cities and municipalities, its provincial government will consolidate the procure. For highly urbanized cities and independent component cities, they are allowed to enter already a negotiation or entering to a tripartite agreement with the supplier, but with the presence of the national government,” Densing explained.
Densing said the LGUs are initially allowed to procure only 50 percent of their requirement so that other funds could also be used for their other Covid-19 response programs.
This will also ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines among LGUs and the private sector, he said.
“We agreed that some of those vaccines [allotted] for the highly urbanized cities who were able to procure, will be reallocated to the smaller LGUs who are not capable of procuring the vaccines,” he added.
The DILG also ordered the LGUs to start generating a master list of their constituents based on the identified priority sectors for the inoculation program, in preparation for the arrival of the Covid-19 jabs in the country.
“With that listing, we can now reconcile together with the listing that we have with the DOH, including of that in the private sector, para hindi ho magkadoble-doble (so that the orders will not be doubled),” Densing said, noting that the government wants to prevent the possible wastage of the vaccines.
Densing cited an estimated 30 percent of the procured vaccines in France have been put to waste due to excessive orders being made.
The two officials made the explanation after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian flagged a particular experience in Valenzuela City, wherein the private sector has also made vaccine orders on their own.
“Just to make sure that we have a mechanism to reconcile all of these volume kasi ang laki nung (because we have a huge fund) allocation natin (it’s) 82 billion for that matter baka sobra-sobra na ho yung nabili natin (we might procure too much)” Gatchalian said.
In response, Galvez said, “LGUs also have to coordinate with the private companies and provide for the private hospital so that they can reconcile their priority sectors.”
“If in case, the LGUs will be able to cover essential workers from the private sector, now the private sector can come in,” he added.
Galvez said only those highly urbanized LGUs with a larger population have volunteered to procure vaccines on their own.
“Kasi po nakikita po nila yung (As they see that) time element on their inoculation will be shortened. That’s our intention that we can have a bigger volume available as soon as possible,” he said.
Galvez said they already advised the LGUs to be on standby in terms of the purchase of vaccines since the national government will also allot equitable volumes of vaccines for each of them.
The national government has already secured 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from various pharmaceutical companies, he said.
The government will also shoulder the vaccine and other logistic requirements for those LGUs that cannot afford to procure vaccines on their own, he added.
The government is still waiting to finalize the supply agreements with pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, Gamaleya, and Novavax. (PNA)