[News Feature] NYK Exclusive Interview with Dr. Tony Leachon
Days after Metro Manila and nearby provinces were placed under General Community Quarantine, Dr. Tony Leachon, former special adviser of National Task Force Against Covid-19, urged the government to improve vaccination roll-out to at least 200,000 a day to attain herd immunity in December.
In an exclusive interview with Now You Know on May 14, he said that slow vaccination is a product of the absence of a composite team with experience and competence to vaccinate 70 percent of the population and the lack of a strong partnership with the private sector as third party collaborator.
Furthermore, the strategy on vaccine deployment from the warehouse going to the LGU's should be revisited to make sure the vaccine does not expire before it is even used.
He also stressed the importance of vaccine administration and the need to improve vaccine hesitancy figures.
Meanwhile, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez in a palace briefing on Tuesday said that the rate of inoculation has now reached 120,000 from 60,000 per day.
200,000 vaccination per day
Based on his calculation, the country will not achieve herd immunity in December with the 60,000 vaccination per day.
Instead, herd immunity will be attained in five to six years with that figure.
Dr. Leachon asked the government to double time on their vaccination efforts to achieve the deadline before the year ends.
He added that to fast-track the inoculation, multiple vaccine sites are needed to deliver the 200,000 vaccination goal per day, in a 24/7 operation, and with more vaccinators.
Building mega vaccination center may hamper the roll-out
“Utilize big event areas as vaccination sites instead of building a mega vaccination center” said Dr. Leachon.
He added that the plan on building a mega vaccination center should have happened before the rise of the health crisis in November 2020.
The locations of vaccination sites should be near the residents, increasing the current number of 3,500 to 6,000 sites. Huge gatherings can be avoided and it will be more convenient for people since they are near the sites.
According to him, the problem in building a mega vaccination site in the midst of a crisis is that it will affect the vaccine quality since we are raising against the expiration date. He also pointed out that a bottleneck on the roll-out could mean a disaster, should we encounter a super spreader virus.
On opening the economy
The A4 category or the essential workers should also be on the list of the vaccination priorities, along with the other categories like A1 to A3, Dr. Leachon said.
He added that if those in the A4 category will be vaccinated, then we can open the economy more and it can bounce back sooner.
Meanwhile, President Duterte approved on Tuesday the vaccination of the A4 priority list, including the uniformed personnel.
Scorecard and dashboard in achieving herd immunity
Local Government Units (LGUs) in the National Capital Region plus must have a scorecard and dashboard to reflect the percentage of the administered doses over the population in their respective locality in order to properly monitor their current performance versus their targets, Dr. Leachon mentioned.
Leachon said that it should be posted on a daily basis so that other LGUs will be inspired by those performing better. A seemingly healthy competition can be helpful.
Emphasizing the importance of understanding where the government is in its response to the pandemic, he ends by sharing a line of Peter Drucker, "We cannot manage what we don't measure."
Watch the full interview here:
200,000 daily vaccination:
Building a mega vaccination center may hamper the roll-out:
Scorecard and dashboard in achieving herd immunity: