OPAV, other gov’t agencies sign MOA with private firms for vaccination drive

Regional

Cebu City – The vaccination program in Cebu is expected to take off after companies agreed to become the government’s partners.

The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), the Inter-Agency Task Force Visayas and the Department of Health (DOH) Region VII signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Project Balik Buhay (PBB) and several private companies.

The PBB is a Cebu-based inter-sectoral group initiated by OPAV Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino last year to help in the campaign against COVID-19.

The MOA was signed on Monday, March 29, at the Visayas COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center at Oakridge Business Park in Mandaue City.

Those who attended the MOA signing included Secretary Dino, IATF Visayas Chief Implementor Lt. Gen. Melquiades Feliciano, DOH-7 regional director Jaime Bernadas, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, PBB chairman and businessman Edmun Liu, Regional Development Council-7 chair Kenneth Cobonpue, PBB co-chair and DOH-7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, and infectious disease specialist Dr. Albert Lim.

Secretary Dino said the goal is to enable the safe and successful implementation of the National Vaccination Program so that the local economy to recover fast from the pandemic.

The government has forged this partnership with the private sector to help the latter in the vaccination process, especially that some companies are procuring their own vaccines for their workers, he explained.

Despite the challenges faced by the government in rolling out the vaccination program, Dino is confident it has slowly developed the know-how in implementing it.

“At first when the vaccines arrived at the DOH, they were able to inoculate the frontliners already. Of course, they experience some problems as expected. It wasn’t smooth all sailing but now they know what to do,” Dino said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

“So, we need to help them (private companies). We need to teach them, meaning we, the National Government, the DOH-7 should teach them the protocols,” Dino explained in an interview with the local press.

The MOA signing will pave the way for the establishment of private sector-led vaccination centers that will help facilitate the rollout of the National Vaccination Program, focusing mainly in helping vaccinate the employed sector to help revive the local economy as fast as possible.

These vaccination centers, to be accredited by DOH and funded and managed by private sector, will help augment the capacity of the government-led vaccination centers.

“So now with the help and cooperation of the private sector, the inoculation here in Cebu will go smoothly,” Secretary Dino said.

“We need the cooperation of the private sector to fast track our vaccination. Time is of the essence in order to defeat COVID, we need to be fast,” he further added.

The signatories of the MOA are Chong Hua Hospital, CebuDoc Group, Visayas Community Medical Center, Mendero Medical Center, UCMed, ARC Hospitals, Belmont One, SM Group, Robinsons Land Corp., Toyota Team Cebu, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Visayan Electric, Archdiocese of Cebu, Sacred Heart School and University of San Carlos.

The other vaccination medical partners include Cebu Velez General Hospital, Perpetual Succour Hospital, St. Vincent General Hospital, UP Medical Alumni Society, LH Foundation Inc. and Bayanihan Cebu.

Dino reiterated that vaccination is the only way for the country and the economy to fully recover from the pandemic.

“We need to raise confidence on vaccination because this is the only way to can fully move on and recover from COVID,” the Cabinet official said.

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