iNITAG rejects IATF’s request to include influencers among first recipients of Sinovac vaccine

Maris Federez   •   March 2, 2021   •   467

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reported that the Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 (IATF) had asked the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (INITAG) to reserve slots for CoronaVac shots for influencers to boost public trust in the vaccine.

The list of influencers submitted to INITAG include President Rodrigo Duterte, the members of the Cabinet, lawmakers, local chief executives, and other personalities.

INITAG, however, disapproved the request as the vaccination rollout prioritizes the medical frontliners in receiving the vaccines.

“Kami po sa IATF ay nag-propose na mga 50 na mga bakuna ay ireserba sa mga tinawatag nating influencer nang mapaigting natin ang vaccine confidence. Hindi po sumang-ayon ang INITAG,” Roque said.

The only thing that the Palace could do was to apologize to the local chief executives who had initially volunteered to be vaccinated.

Only three personalities from the administration were inoculated with the CoronaVac under the directive of the president.

They are National Task Force (NTF) Chief Implementer and Vaccine CzarSec. Carlito Galvez; NTF Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar Vince Dizon; and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairperson Benhur Abalos who represents the local chief executives of Metro Manila. —/mbmf (with details from Rosalie Coz)

PhilHealth’s debit-credit payment method now applies to all COVID-19 high, critical risk areas – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has approved the application of Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) debit-credit payment method (DCPM) in areas with high-risk and critical COVID-19 situation nationwide, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved the policy on Thursday, April 22.

Roque said the move was made as high-risk and critical risk areas will also be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccine allocation, human health resource deployment, and other relevant COVID-19 response measures, as applicable.

Prior to the IATF’s order, PhilHealth, under its Circular 2021-0004, provides for the use of payment method to facilitate the settlement of accounts payable to healthcare facilities during the State of Public Health Emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

PhilHealth initially applied DCPM only to areas identified by the IATF, particularly in the National Capital Region, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal.

Roque said the IATF likewise directed the National Task Force (NTF) Task Group Treat, through the One COVID Referral System, to utilize the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance Using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler for Early Detection of Diseases (FASSSTER) projections on target beds and human resources for health.

“These projections shall identify health capacity needs required to lower health care and intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rates,” he said.

“The NTF shall also review and implement the recommended Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat- Reintegrate strategies to reduce the health utilization rates and augment the needs of human resources for health,” he added.

Roque said that the task group will also identify target additional beds on a weekly basis that will substantially reduce health care and ICU utilization rates, determine and list specific health facilities and infrastructure to contribute these additional beds, and operationalize how these beds become functional with adequate human resources for health and equipment.

The Palace official earlier said that the government is eyeing to add 200 more ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.

“The NTF shall further engage the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to develop training and instructional materials of available COVID-19 response frameworks to enhance the enforcement of COVID-19 strategies at the barangay level,” Roque said.

The said materials shall be cascaded to the barangay, purok, sitio, and zone levels through the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the regional counterparts of the NTF for immediate and intensified implementation through barangay empowerment, he added.

IATF OKs A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the list of sectors included in the A4 priority group of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the A4 priority list includes the following:

  • Workers in commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
  • Public and private wet and dry market vendors
  • Frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
  • Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • Frontline workers in private and government financial services
  • Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
  • Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
  • Security guards/ personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • Frontline workers in private and government news media
  • Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
  • Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months

Also included in the A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination are the following:

  • Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection;
  • Worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
  • Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
  • Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel in consular operations
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

Roque said the IATF approved the A4 list on Thursday, April 15.

The Palace official likewise announced that the IATF has approved the continuation of the training of the national athletes at the Olympic Training Bubble in Calamba, Laguna as well as the extension of the temporary suspension of foreign nationals until April 30, 2021.

Foreign nationals with valid entry exemption documents duly issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to March 22, 2021 will be allowed entry to the Philippines.

The IATF also approved the extension of the risk-level classification of Quirino Province under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine until April 30, Roque said.

 

Temporary vaccination facility soon to rise in Nayong Pilipino

Marje Pelayo   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)  has approved the construction of a vaccination facility at the Nayong Pilipino compound in Paranaque City, the Department of Tourism (DOT) confirmed Monday (April 12).

A DOT-attached agency, the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) agreed to use a vacant lot in the area for the construction of the facility to help in the government’s vaccination program.

“This is expected to be a game-changer in the vaccination program. The facility, which will be a public-private partnership, is expected to vaccinate at least 12,000 people a day,” the DOT said in a statement.

The project will be made possible through an agreement between the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) and the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, whose board had already given its preliminary approval of the project to ensure its immediate execution.

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