PRESIDENTIAL Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino wants everyone in the Visayas to receive a Covid-19 vaccine by the yearend.
“Everyone, ang gusto nato, before the end of the year, everyone (in the Visayas) will be vaccinated already,” Dino said during the rollout of the Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination manual on Wednesday, April 14, at the Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) in Oakridge Business Center, Mandaue City.
Dino promised to lobby so that the Visayas would have enough supply of vaccines needed by the three regions.
He called on the regional offices of the Department of Health in Western, Central and Eastern Visayas to submit to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav) the number of vaccines needed weekly.
Dino maintained, however, that local government units (LGUs) have to ensure that they will be able to implement an orderly and efficient vaccination program.
This can be achieved by the LGUs by using the VVOC vaccination manual, he added.
The manual, prepared by Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)-Visayas Chief Implementer retired General Mel Feliciano, in coordination with Opav and the DOH-Central Visayas Director Jaime Bernadas, will pave the way for the implementation of community vaccination program in Cebu and the Visayas.
Speaking through a recorded video message, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, lauded the preparation of the vaccination program manual for LGUs in the Visayas.
“I applaud the efforts of those who initiated the handbook of the Visayas Covid-19 Vaccine Operations Center. This initiative will go a long way in ensuring the successful roll out of our national vaccine program,” Go said.
Go, who has been calling for efficient and equitable vaccination program, said this is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to apply a whole of nation approach in the challenges the country is facing.
Dino also noted that in other areas, vaccination efforts were not quite organized.
He noted that in some areas, no one showed up probably because of lack of information.
“We should learn from all of these, and I think we’ve been proactive to preempt potential hurdles, that is why we have the VVOC,” he said.
The VVOC is born out of the efforts of various stakeholders who have worked tirelessly by pulling their time, effort, resources and expertise together to create set of specific, data-driven, well-studied guidelines that will serve as a compass for LGUs to follow in their respective local vaccination operations centers.
The VVOC is led by Opav together with IATF-Visayas, DOH-Central Visayas and the generous partners in the private sector through the Project Balik Buhay (PBB).
Dino said mass vaccination during a pandemic where health protocols are needed to be observed “is not as simple as we think.”
“It has to be nearly perfect, with a clockwork precision. Masterlisting and scheduling are the most important considerations to effectively and successfully do it,” Dino said.
The pilot testing of the vaccination plan held in Mandaue City has proven its effectivity.
“Before today, we have already seen the manual to be effective as we have conducted a pilot test in Mandaue City, the first to implement community vaccination in the Visayas serving as a benchmark for all other localities. Hence, this handbook-manual should be cascaded to the local government units in the Visayas,” Dino said.
In the Visayas, over 120,000 people have already been inoculated and some of them have already received their second doses.
“This is a huge step towards recovery, given that most, if not all of our medical frontliners, being the priority group, have been vaccinated,” Dino said.
“True enough, we need to have a whole-of-nation and whole-of-society approach in effectively countering Covid-19. Thus, let us continue working together in the spirit of bayanihan as we fight this pandemic and recover as one,” he added.
He also recognized Feliciano and his wife, Mia, for their continued efforts in the campaign against Covid-19.
Dino also thanked the PBB, headed by chairman Edmun Liu and co-chair Kenneth Cobonpue, for the group’s numerous efforts to help the government.
“We would not have gotten this far if not for our joint efforts and collaborations since the beginning. Remember that those companies, those establishments who are helping us with Project Balik Buhay, they are actually donating everything. They’re not charging us,” he said.
He noted that one has to spend around P500 to be inoculated. “But with the help of PBB, zero charges. They’re just here to really help us, help inoculate more people so that we can finish inoculating.”
Through the efforts of the PBB and the private sector, vaccines will be available for free to Cebuanos, he added.
Meanwhile, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia thanked Dino, together with the DOH-Central Visayas and IATF, for spearheading the Visayas vaccination program.
Garcia also lauded Dino for his efforts so that Cebu and the rest of the Visayas could also have a share of the vaccines.
“Nagpasalamat gyod ko ni Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino. Sayod ko, sa unang pag-abot sa vaccine daghang nag-ilog. Siya gyod ang mitingog sa national government and he really worked so that Visayas, particularly Cebu, will be given its fair share,” the governor said.
She also expressed gratitude to the National Government and the “compassionate push of the chairman of Senate committee on health” for the awaited vaccination program.
“Let me assure the national government that we are one in support of the national vaccination program for Covid-19. Because over here in Cebu, with minimum health protocols, with our push to boost immune system and with an effective, pro-active referral and hospital management program, now further boosted by Covid-19 vaccination program, Cebu is showing the rest of the country how to move on and how to move forward,” Garcia said.
Liu, for his part, cited the Cebu business community’s strong support to the national vaccination program, saying hospitals and establishments have offered their spaces to be venues for mass inoculation.
He said private companies have also been asked to submit the names of their employees who belong to the priority sector as identified under the national prioritization framework of the government’s vaccination plan.
Liu also lauded the efforts of Dino for bridging a partnership with the private sector in the vaccination rollout.
The rollout of the vaccination program manual was also attended by the local chief executives of cities and municipalities in Cebu, as well as the regional directors of Office of Civil Defense-Central Visayas, Department of Information and Communications Technology-Central Visayas and Department of the Interior and Local Government-Central Visayas, and other DOH regional officials.
Each of the attendees received a copy of the Covid-19 vaccination manual. (PR>)