LGUs told to ramp up vaccination drives for population protection

LGUs told to ramp up vaccination drives for population protection

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday renewed its call for local government units (LGUs) to double their efforts in vaccinating their constituents as the country aims to fully vaccinate 70 percent of the population by year-end.

In a Laging Handa briefing, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said under the “Vax to the Max” program, some 40 million coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) doses that are available in the country were already distributed to various LGUs.

“Kailangan po nating pataasin yung ating current vaccination rate na nasa around 500,000 to 600,000 doses a day on the average so kailangan po nating gawin ito from that number to 1 to 1.5 million jabs a day (We need to increase the current vaccination rate which is around 500,000 to 600,000 doses a day. We need to increase this to 1 to 1.5 million jabs a day),” he added.

He noted that the government’s goal is to reach 70 percent of having at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose per individual by November 30 and to have 70 percent of them fully vaccinated by December 31.

Malaya also said the DILG, Department of Health (DOH), and the National Task Force against Covid-19 met with the mayors of Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and other priority areas in the country to inform them about the directive seeking them to expedite their respective vaccination programs.

He, meanwhile, warned local chief executives and concerned department heads that they can be held liable due to negligence or “unjustified failure’’ to ramp up their inoculation program which is a violation of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code.

The DILG which issued many memorandum circulars concerning the national vaccination program will file charges of neglect of duty and misconduct against the rogue LCEs.

However, Malaya said no cases have been filed against any LCE for violations or untoward incidents that affected the country’s vaccination drive.

In a separate statement, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año directed the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to deploy manpower and resource assets to support LGUs’ vaccination activities and to initiate communication campaigns aligned with the LGUs’ risk communication plan to convince people to get Covid-19 jabs.

In cases of vaccine negligence or lack of foresight by the LGUs and their personnel, Año also directed the PNP to conduct an investigation and submit the results to the DILG.

Año also urged the provinces to distribute to their component cities and municipalities their vaccine supplies within three days from the date of delivery to avoid wastage.

He added that the receiving cities and municipalities should administer the vaccines to the qualified recipients immediately and within 15 days from the date of the transfer.

“Now that we have a steady supply of vaccines, we need to ensure the timely distribution and administration of available vaccines not only to prevent wastage of resources but also to achieve population protection by yearend,” he added.

In cities and municipalities that do not have enough storage facilities with cold chain temperature requirements, Año said the provinces should serve as storage hubs provided that Covid-19 vaccines for first doses are utilized within seven days and on schedule for the second doses. (PNA)

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