Galvez urges LGUs to enact ordinances to support ‘vaccine non-preference policy’

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A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken on October 30, 2020. (REUTERS file photo / Dado Ruvic)

MANILA, Philippines – Local governments should enact ordinances to support a “no vaccine preference policy” to discourage the public from having brand preferences, said Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., head of vaccines at the country, in a statement released on Saturday.

Galvez said this was part of the government’s efforts to achieve immunization coverage of 70 percent of its target population of 54 million by the end of November.

“It will be a taste, as we push for mandatory vaccination, especially for those who are very vulnerable and residents who live in high density populations,” said Galvez.

Galvez also said the Home and Local Government Department ordered local government units to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in the “fastest manner”.

While vaccination of minors between the ages of 12 and 17 was allowed, Galvez reminded local governments to prioritize people at high risk for the disease, such as the elderly and those with co-morbidities.

“We will encourage LGUs with high achievements and give penalties to those who underperform, especially in the distribution and administration of these life-saving doses,” said Galvez.

In a related development, the government is expected to hold a national immunization day during the last week of November with the goal of delivering at least five million doses.

Meanwhile, 37,355,164 people – or 48.43% of the target population – received at least one dose as of November 4.

The government also administered a total of 62,474,334 vaccines nationwide, bringing the total number of fully vaccinated people to 28,718,856, or 37.23 percent of the country’s target population.

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