The country’s vaccine supply from the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility could be compromised if the Philippines would not follow the priority list it has set, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative said on Thursday.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe noted that the vaccines from COVAX are allocated to protect the most vulnerable groups which include health workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities.
“If we want to ensure that we continue to access the vaccines from the COVAX Facility, we need to demonstrate that we can follow this prioritization,” he said in a virtual briefing.
The COVAX Facility is a WHO-led initiative that ensures equal access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially for poorer countries.
“If we cannot demonstrate that we are following this prioritization, unfortunately the COVAX may have to consider other options where the impact of the vaccine rollout will be more useful and practical and will contribute to saving more lives,” Abeyasinghe said.
He said the Department of Health would supervise the adherence to the prioritization list because WHO has no plan to “police” the vaccination in the country.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire urged compliance to the vaccine prioritization list.
COVAX vaccine supply for PH at risk if priority list not followed – WHO exec
“Kung saka-sakaling makapag-violate tayo nitong objective na ‘to, na hindi natin nabigay sa mga tamang tao o health workers, maaaring ma-compromise or ma-jeopardize ‘yung mga succeeding supplies from coming from COVAX Facility,” she said.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said DOH would investigate the alleged vaccination of non-health workers.
“Aalamin natin, papa-invesigate natin, ‘yun ang gagawin natin to find out kasi nga lagi ko namang sinasabi na ang bakuna nga natin para sa healthcare workers, kinakailangan 3.4 million doses eh 600,000 lang yung dumating, so 17% lang, so kulang,” said Duque in a report on Dobol B TV.
“So talagang dapat ating sundin yung prioritization formula.”
President Rodrigo Duterte allowed the inoculation of only three officials: National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., NTF deputy chief Vince Dizon, and MMDA chairperson Benhur Abalos.