Duterte approves National Vaccine Roadmap

The Palace confirmed on Monday, November 9, the approval of the National Task Force’s (NTF) Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr, who discussed details of the vaccine roadmap in his press briefing, said that the roadmap is in preparation for the vaccine.

“Tulad ng madalas kong sabihin, the availability of the vaccine will be a game-changer – where we go from avoidance, to actively minimizing the threat of the infection,” said Secretary Roque. Meanwhile, while the whole world awaits for the vaccine, the Palace spokesperson has a reminder to the public.

“Samantala po alalahanin po natin yung hinihingi ng ating Presidente: mask, hugas, iwas. Dahil ang gusto natin umabot tayo sa paglabas ng bakuna,” underscored Roque.

Referring to the approved national vaccine roadmap, the Palace official said that the most important consideration is safety followed by efficacy, sensitivity, and cost and complexities of the supply chain requirements.

Other considerations include access for clinical trials and regions/local production and distribution, complexities on the ground preparation and implementation, and world supply and demand on vaccines.

The Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap has seven important stages as discussed by Sec. Roque, which will have corresponding government agencies as lead.

Stage 1, which is also the most critical, is the scientific evaluation and selection that the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) are heading.

The access and acquisition, which will guarantee access to the vaccines, is being spearheaded by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Finance (DOF). Procurement will be done by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PSDBM) and the DOF. Procurement, shipment, and storage will also be handled by the PSDBM and the Task Group Resource Management and Logistics (TGRML) of the NTF.

Distribution and deployment of the vaccine will be handled by the PSDBM and TGRML. Stage 6 is the implementation and nationwide vaccination will have the DOH as lead agency in cooperation with national government agencies, local government units, among others.

The last stage is assessment, evaluation, and monitoring, which will be done by the DOH, DOST, and the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health. The vaccine roadmap is expected to be implemented this year.

According to the vaccine roadmap, the Philippines will have several options or decision points in terms of vaccine selection and access and options to obtaining the vaccine.

In vaccine selection, decision points will include safety and efficacy, single dose versus two doses, the varying temperature needed for the cold chain facility, and whether it will be single source or multi-source. (PCOO)