QUEZON City Rep. Alfred Vargas on Friday urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to start updating its list of indigents and senior citizens in preparation for the arrival of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccines in the country.
“As we wait for the vaccination guidelines, I advise DSWD to start checking their master list of senior citizens and indigents. Duplications and errors should be removed. Accurate data is crucial in planning the vaccination program, so DSWD must ensure its master list is updated,” said Vargas, chairman of the House committee on social services.
Vargas met on Wednesday with DSWD officials, led by Undersecretary for Social Welfare and Development Danilo A. Pamonag, at the central office to discuss the agency’s plans and programs for 2021, including its participation in the COVID-19 immunization program.
The Department of Health (DoH) has identified senior citizens and indigent Filipinos as among those who will be prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes locally available next year.
Around 3.7 million indigent senior citizens will be second in line to get the vaccine, after frontline health workers. Another 5.6 million senior citizens and 12.9 million poor Filipinos make up the third and fourth priority.
Considering the large scope of the COVID-19 immunization program, Vargas said DSWD should work closely with the Department of Health and local governments in coming up with a logistics plan for an efficient vaccine rollout.
“Mas sanay ang DSWD sa distribution dahil sa regular na pagbigay ng ayuda. Perhaps they can draw up a hybrid system that combines the best aspects of their system with that of the DoH’s vaccination system,” he said.