City Council committee hearings on Davao’s COVID-19 immunization ordinance set

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Jan) – The City Council of Davao is set to schedule a series of committee hearings on January 11 and 14 after the passage of the draft ordinance for the implementation of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) immunization program on first reading last Tuesday.

Councilor Mary Joselle D. Villafuerte. Photo from the councilor’s Facebook page.

The proposed measure, authored by the city’s 3rd District Councilor Mary Joselle D. Villafuerte, was intended to adopt a “comprehensive, immunization program for COVID-19” as the city plans to procure its own supply of vaccines.

Villafuerte said during an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Wednesday that proposed measure must be legislated to prepare the city for the eventual massive rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

Section 4 of the proposed ordinance provides that it will apply to all residents of the city and to other non-residents who may be found within the territorial jurisdiction of the city during the effectivity of the program.

Once passed into law, the implementation of the program will be done in phases, taking into consideration population groups, geographical locations and logistics, giving priority to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities for the initial phase.

Next up in the government’s priority list are persons over 75 years old and frontline essential workers (non-health care workers); persons aged 65 to 74, persons aged 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers.

It added that the City Health Office, the lead agency in the implementation of COVID-19 immunization program, will follow the guidelines on the age, gender, and other requirements set by the national government through Department of Health or the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

The City of Davao will follow a community-based framework in executing the COVID-19 vaccination program, with barangays and other community subsets as active partners in program execution to ensure thorough vaccination coverage of persons, adequate and equitable access to the vaccine, and proper post-vaccination attention and monitoring.

A COVID-19 Vaccination Program Task Force will also be established, composed of the City Mayor, City Health Officer, Department of Health-Davao, City Council on Health chairperson, representatives of all hospital directors in the city, representatives of faith-based organizations, indigenous peoples representative, civil society representative, business sector representative, infectious disease consultant, pediatric specialist consultant, and food and drug administration representative.

The task force will oversee the planning and implementation of COVID-19 vaccination program, and will report to the public about the planning, execution, progress and other necessary disclosures.

The creation of a Local Adverse Effects Following Immunization (AEFI) Committee Specific to COVID-19 Vaccination is also proposed “to respond to any adverse events following immunization through reporting, monitoring, surveillance, cross-agency collaboration, and other coordinated modes.

The committee will be composed of the City Health Officer as head and DOH-Davao representative as immunization program manager, with National Immunization Program Coordinator, Health Education Promotion officer, IATF-EID representative, City/ Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (CESU or RESU) as applicable, representatives of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers/suppliers, Food and Drug Administration representative, and Philippine Society of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, Inc. representative as members.

As of January 5, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region recorded 12,985 total COVID-19 cases, with 1,530 active, 10,920 recoveries and 535 deaths.

Of the total cases, Davao City reported 9,107, Davao de Oro with 615, Davao del Norte with 1,640, Davao del Sur with 931, Davao Occidental with 127, and Davao Oriental with 565.

For Davao City, there are 983 active cases, 7,699 recoveries and 425 deaths. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)