Legarda: localized immunization plan is the best battle plan against COVID-19

January 14, 2021

House Deputy Speaker and Antique Lone District Representative Loren Legarda urged the national government to work closely with local government units (LGUs) nationwide for the effective implementation of the country’s national immunization plan that should prioritize the most vulnerable population, especially the frontliners.

“The local communities are where the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic actually happens and it is vital for the LGUs to be fully equipped and to strengthen their protective measures against the virus, and this includes allowing the LGUs to implement their own immunization plans. With reports that the new strain of the COVID-19 virus has already been detected in a patient here in the Philippines, we have to exhaust all efforts even more to protect our constituents from this deadly virus,” Legarda said.

According to Legarda, the national government, in taking the lead in the rollout of the immunization plan, should be transparent not only in negotiating with the different pharmaceutical companies willing to supply the vaccines, but also in the logistical preparations being undertaken and these should be done in consultation with the LGUs.

“We need a comprehensive and doable immunization plan – a battle plan. The virus is here to stay and let us consider this as the war of the century so we should all be ready, especially those in the battlefield,” Legarda added.

The former three-term Senator also encouraged LGUs to prioritize the procurement of vaccines, once available, in accordance with existing rules and regulations. “More than preparing financially, LGUs through its local health offices should prepare the logistics, including the appropriate storage facilities for the vaccines. The logistical challenge will be eased if the LGUs will identify strategic areas where the temperature-sensitive vaccines can be stored for efficient distribution and administration when needed. Moreover, it will also be important for the LGUs to identify as early as now the local health professionals who will be trained to conduct the vaccination program to the recipients,” Legarda said.

“With these considerations in mind, we will have the proper directives and guidelines on the inoculation program against the COVID-19. We should learn from other countries not only the things that they have done right, but also other problems to be avoided in order to effectively roll out our own immunization plan,” Legarda added.

“Other countries may have been more advanced in the rollout of their immunization plans, but they are having problems now due to the lack of healthcare staff and empty vaccination centers. We can avoid and learn from these experiences if the national government and the LGUs will work closely and thoroughly in laying out our own immunization plan,” Legarda concluded.

According to the Department of Health COVID-19 bulletin for 13 January 2021, there have been 492,700 cases and 9,699 deaths in the country.***