TWO lawmakers have asked the national government to prepare the master list of those sectors or groups of individuals that will be given the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas and Paranaque Rep. Joy Tambunting issued separate statements both asking for a master list of poor, senior citizens in preparation for the mass immunization.
Vargas is urging the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to start updating its list of indigents and senior citizens in preparation for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine 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,” Vargas, chairman of the House Committee on Social Services, said.
Just recently, Vargas met 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.
For her part, Tambunting has filed a measure that seek to enable government to implement a safe and effective vaccination program.
In filing House Resolution 1227, Tambunting asked DoH to prepare a comprehensive plan for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Even though we have yet to procure the vaccines, we must start planning now,” Tambunting said.
“We must also ensure no Filipino will be denied a COVID-19 vaccine because of its cost,” she added.
Tambunting’s another measure filed or the House Bill 8104 seeks to establish a Free COVID-19 Vaccination Program nationwide.
“This will definitely cost more but it is a worthwhile cost. The early preparation of a comprehensive vaccination plan will allow for the speedy distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines; and will consequently hasten the resumption of normal activities which would greatly help our economy’s recovery. We must make the vaccine accessible to our countrymen if we are to put an end to this pandemic,” she said.