Mayor Evelio Leonardia has formed a body tasked to plan and implement the city’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination roadmap.
In Executive Order (EO) 83 released on Christmas eve, Leonardia named the composition of the Bacolod City Covid-19 Vaccination (CoVac) Council, designating himself as chairperson; Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, vice-chairperson; and city administrator Em Ang, council coordinator.
Leonardia said vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez, has personally informed him and publicly declared that Bacolod is among the priorities of the National Vaccination Program.
“While (Budget) Secretary Wendel Avisado has made a public pronouncement that vaccination is the responsibility of the national government, (it) is to the best interest of our people, nevertheless, that major and concrete steps are taken by our local officials to ensure that the City of Bacolod will be prepared to implement and manage this expected massive health program,” he added.
The mayor said these include marshaling and ensuring that all financial resources of the city government are geared to supplement, augment, and complete any funding requirements that may arise when it eventually implements the local vaccination program.
“In light of the foregoing developments, the Bacolod City Government shall organize a council to oversee and ensure the expeditious and orderly acquisition and distribution of the vaccine in the city,” the mayor said in EO 83.
The CoVac Council will plan, supervise, and implement programs and activities related to the city’s Covid-19 vaccination roadmap to provide its citizens access and delivery of the disease preventive measure at the soonest possible time with the widest and most realistic coverage possible.
It will also closely coordinate and integrate with the National Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, Department of Health, Department of Budget and Management, the major leagues of local government officials, and other government and non-government instrumentalities to ensure that health and safety standards on the city’s vaccination program are observed at its highest standards.
The CoVac Council will also be responsible to define, establish, supervise, and implement, among others, various tasks.
It will profile and identify members of priority sectors for Covid-19 vaccination; select and acquire the vaccine or vaccines authorized for use in the Philippines in coordination with the national government; develop and administer a system for registering beneficiaries, administering and tracking the distribution of doses, and monitoring of any adverse events following immunization; select and develop vaccination centers in suitable places within the city.
The CoVac Council will also ensure availability of suitable cold storage facilities for the vaccine, including mobile cold storage units to the extent feasible; develop and strengthen the supply chain for the vaccine; and ensure the availability of sufficient manpower to distribute and administer the vaccine, including medical and non-medical private sector volunteers wherever necessary.
The body will assist in obtaining any necessary funding for acquisition of the vaccine through any lawful source; and develop an information campaign to achieve public acceptance of the vaccine and awareness of its benefits.
As of December 24, records of the City Health Office showed that Bacolod has 5,583 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 5,313 recoveries, 97 active cases, and 173 deaths.
(Nanette Guadalquiver via Philippine News Agency (PNA), photo courtesy of PNA)