The government has approved and ratified the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines and is now set to implement the nationwide immunization campaign to combat the coronavirus.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 31) The government has approved and ratified the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines and is now set to implement the nationwide immunization campaign to combat the coronavirus.
“All implementing agencies of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, all Regional and Local COVID-19 Task Forces, and all Regional and Local COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Centers, Local Task Forces and Local COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Centers are hereby mandated to implement and adopt the said plan,” a recent memorandum by the National Task Force against COVID-19 read.
The Regional and Local COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Centers are also directed to develop their own deployment and vaccination macro and microplans based on the templates disseminated by the Department of Health.
The NTF COVID-19 uploaded on Saturday a copy of a January 26 memorandum on the approved Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution No. 95.
The memorandum was signed by NTF COVID-19 chairperson and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, vice chair and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr.
“By approaching the vaccination program in a whole-of-system government, whole-of-society approach, we can ensure the successes of the national vaccine deployment program in delivering safe, effective and accessible vaccines for all Filipinos,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in the Foreword.
The document, which is over a hundred pages, mainly comprises seven phases of the plan, divided into chapters. These are: Scientific Evaluation and Selection, Diplomatic Negotiation and Engagement, Procurement and Financing, Shipment and Storage, Distribution and Deployment, Implementation of a Nationwide Vaccination; and Assessment, Evaluation and Monitoring.
The prioritization mechanism and the criteria for technical evaluation of the short-listed vaccines are explained in the vaccine plan. The document also describes the government’s process of engagement with foreign entities on vaccine development, evaluation and selection, the funding requirements, and the technical details on the cold chain management and ancillary immunization supplies.
Eleven COVID-19 vaccines have been shortlisted by the vaccine expert panel so far, including Sinovac, Sinopharm, Novavax, and Clover. AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech are also among the candidates, but these are the only ones which were granted with an Emergency Use Authorization so far as of last week.
Of the allotted 82.5 billion for the COVID-19 campaign, 70 billion will come from the unprogrammed funds in the 2021 General Appropriations Act for the procurement of vaccines. Meanwhile, for the logistics and other supplies, 2.5 billion has been set aside under the Department of Health’s budget and 10 billion under the Bayanihan 2.
The plan also lays down the process of masterlisting or the registration of the population prior to vaccination. Under Group A, health workers, senior citizens, the indigent population, and the uniformed personnel are included. Group B comprises other frontline workers and special populations, while Group C comprises the remaining population.
The plan also details the role of vaccination experts and trainers from the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Department of Health, the regional training teams on the designated COVID-19 vaccinators, as well as the process of their post-training supervision on the field.
Under the implementation phase, there will be fixed vaccination sites in medical centers, hospitals, rural health units, health facilities of other government agencies and private clinics. Local officials and other personnel may do house-to-house visits to mobilize those who have successfully registered for the vaccination.
Those who have pre-registered for the vaccination will go to the site with a designated QR code and sign a final consent form prior to the inoculation. They will then be given an immunization card afterwards and will stay in a post-vaccination monitoring area for up to an hour where they will be observed for possible adverse effects by a separate team of health workers.
The plan also bares the surveillance of adverse effects of the vaccine, to be done by a surveillance officer, who is part of the composite team assigned in the post-vaccination monitoring area. Monitoring and reporting will be done every two weeks for the first two months, then monthly for one year.
The vaccinee can also report his or her condition by calling his designated vaccination operation center, by filing a report to the Food and Drug Administration through the pharmacovigilance system or directly to the vaccine manufacturer. He or she can also report online through a system that will be set up by the government.
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“This is a living plan and will be updated as more information becomes available or as recommendations are provided by WHO and UNICEF,” the document read.
Galvez earlier said that the first batch of coronavirus vaccines is set to arrive in the Philippines this February, in line with the government’s aim to vaccinate 50 million to 70 million Filipinos this year.
While lives will not yet return to pre-pandemic times for at least two years, Duque previously expressed the need to achieve herd immunity this year, admitting this is the best-case scenario.
READ: Vaccine czar eyes jabs by February, but Filipinos may need to endure pandemic until 2023