Policies on the testing, evaluation and procurement of potential vaccine against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country will not change despite the appointment of Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez as vaccine czar, a health official said Wednesday.
“No processes will be changed, there may be additional ones, because we now have this vaccine czar, our leader, he may add more expeditious processes for our work to be easier,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during an online media forum.
Vergeire added that the specific tasks Galvez would be handling include the purchasing, the negotiations, the manufacturing, the production and distribution of the vaccines.
“Of course, he will not work alone,” she said.
She said the new vaccine czar will still work with DOH and the Departments of Science and Technology (DOST), Trade and Industry (DTI), Finance (DOF), Bureau of Investments and other agencies.
“Definitely, the procedures and the processes in place will still be followed and most importantly, our regulatory process to ensure that these vaccines would be safe and efficacious will still be implemented,” she said.
On Tuesday, the DOH expressed its support on the appointment of Galvez as the vaccine czar and assured the public they will jointly ensure that effective Covid-19 vaccine is made accessible to all Filipinos.
In a virtual Palace presser on Tuesday, Galvez said his role as vaccine czar is to “unburden” the DOH and DOST from administrative work.
He said Duque would still be the primary person in charge of overseeing vaccine implementation.
“As chief implementer, ang boss ko pa rin po si DOH Secretary considering si DOH Secretary is IATF Chairman. Kung ano yung policy niya pertaining sa (my boss is DOH Secretary considering the DOH Secretary is IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] chairman. His policy pertaining to the) vaccine will be implemented by me,” he said.
Galvez, a former general, also said his military expertise would also be an advantage as it would enable him to easily coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).
“Yung pagiging military chief ko mas madali po ‘yan na coordination sa PNP at saka sa AFP…Malaki pong tulong yun kasi kayang-kaya i-integrate ang lahat na mga (My being military chief will mean easier coordination with PNP and AFP. It will be a big help because we can easily integrate all) logistical requirements that we have,” he said.
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he designated Galvez as vaccine czar to ensure that the Philippines has access to a potential vaccine once available. (PNA)