A lawmaker stressed the need to prioritize and fast-track the training of personnel at the local government level on the proper storage, handling, and administration of the highly temperature-sensitive vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Camarines Sur Representative LRay Villafuerte said the training would help prevent drug wastage and ensure the success of the government’s vaccination drive when the anti-COVID shots become available in the provinces.
Villafuerte said the government should also ensure that the staff handling the vaccines in the communities are familiar with the hierarchy of priorities on who should get the vaccines; how these doses should be stored, especially in localities where there are no available cold storage facilities; and how to properly administer the shots to the target-beneficiaries.
“In CamSur, we already have a list of the priority beneficiaries across the province, as well as the list of frontliners who are to administer the vaccines,” the veteran legislator said.
“LGU staff should also be trained on the proper storage of the meds.”
“But our frontliners need to be properly trained on how to administer the shots. LGU (local government unit) staff should also be trained on the proper storage of the meds,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
He cited a World Health Organization (WHO) study reporting that while 85 percent of 128 countries had come up with their inoculation plans, only 30 percent trained people to give the shots and only 27 percent had drawn up public information campaigns.
The study further noted that important matters, such as advocacy, community engagement, and risk and safety communication, “remain largely unaddressed” as a result of the lack of training and information drive.
“There’s still enough time for the government to train personnel in the provinces.”
“Because a majority of those to be targeted for vaccination will most probably get their doses in the second or third quarter, there’s still enough time for the government to train personnel in the provinces on the proper handling and storage of the vaccines, and how to properly administer the jabs,” Villafuerte stressed.
He noted that the government needs to draw up and implement down to the cities and municipalities the guidelines on the safe and effective transport, storage, and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines as soon as these arrive from overseas and are delivered to the provinces.
The government should also deal with various challenges, such as doubts over the vaccine, a distrust with the implementing government, lack of facilities/workforce, limited vaccine supply, shipping delays arising from border controls, and the rise of new COVID-19 variants.