Palace cites four priority regions for COVID-19 vaccines
Malacanang said on Monday the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has identified the priority regions and population covered by the government's immunization program against coronavirus disease.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the prirority regions include National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Region XI or Davao Region, and Region IV-A or Calabarzon where there are high numbers of COVID-19 cases,
He said Cebu City and Davao City will also be included in the priority areas.
"Based on the recommendation of the IATF, sectoral priority ranking will be followed in geographical priorities," Roque said in a televised press briefing.
Contrary to the claims of the administration critics, he said the government has a very clear plan for its COVID-19 immunization program.
Roque, also the spokesman of the IATF, said the first tranche of the vaccine will be given to frontline healthcare workers in the four priority regions.
He said other priority sectors are the indigent senior citizens, remaining senior citizens, remaining indigent population, and uniformed personnel.
Roque said there were discussions in the IATF also if those with "comorbidities," such as with hypertension or diabetics, would be included in the priority list. The decision has yet to be made since the members of the IATF have different opinions.
Meanwhile, Roque warned that local government units could not purchase the COVID-19 vaccines without coursing it through the national government under a tripartite agreement.
"I want to make it clear, an LGU cannot procure (the vaccine) without the signature of the national government because the sale of the vaccine is G-to-G (government-to-government)," he said.
The policy with the LGU regarding the purchase of the vaccines is similar with the private sector, he said.
"That's the agreement, legally enforceable agreement - if not, those who will not follow the tripartite agreement will be held responsible," Roque said. Celerina Monte/DMS