BY ADRIAN P NEMES III
A Covid-19 vaccination council was created by the Bacolod City government to oversee and ensure the expeditious and orderly acquisition and distribution of the vaccine in the city.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who chairs the council, said it will plan, supervise, and implement programs and activities related to the vaccination roadmap to provide Bacolodnons with access to the disease preventive measure.
Leonardia said they hope to be able to distribute the vaccines against Covid the soonest time with the widest and most realistic coverage possible.
He said the council is also tasked to closely coordinate and integrate with the National Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease, Department of Health, Department of Budget and management, the major leagues of local government officials, and other government and non-government entities.
This is to ascertain that health and safety standards of the city vaccination program are observed at their highest standards, Leonardia also said.
Under Executive Order 83 that he issued, the council will be responsible for profiling and identifying members of the sectors who should be prioritized for vaccination, including frontliners, senior citizens, and essential business workers, among others.
The council was also tasked to acquire the vaccine authorized for use in the Philippines in coordination with the national government, based on effectiveness and practical considerations, such as vaccine shortages, handling, equipment and training requirements.
Leonardia said the council will develop and administer a system for registering beneficiaries, will notify beneficiaries of their eligibility and the vaccination schedule, and will monitor any adverse effects following immunization.
They will select and develop vaccination centers in suitable places within the city where there will be cold storage facilities, the mayor added.
Aside from Leonardia, the Bacolod Covid-19 Vaccination Council is composed of Vice Mayor El Cid Famillaran as vice chairman, and City Administrator Em Ang as coordinator. Some councilors, city officials and members of the city Emergency Operations Center are also part of the council.
“The creation of the Covid-19 Vaccination (CoVac) Council in Bacolod is a first among LGUs,” League of Cities of the Philippines executive director Veronica Hitosis said upon learning of its establishment. Leonardia said, “It is the highest priority of the city government to ensure that the lives of Bacolodnons are protected from Covid-19. This is the preamble of our CoVac executive order. We must make sure we have accessibility and adequacy of vaccine supply.”*