DICT targets vaccine management system rollout by Q2

Residents of Quezon City in line for a coronavirus jab manually fill up information sheets in this March 31 photo. — PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE DEPARTMENT of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Wednesday said it targets to rollout the government’s vaccine management system nationwide within this quarter (Q2).

The department is aiming to have the  Vaccine Information and Management System (VIMS) set up in the National Capital Region (NCR) by end-April and the rest of the country by end-May, DICT Assistant Secretary Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic said in a televised news briefing.

Mr. Caintic said the vaccine reporting system is expected to quicken the country’s inoculation drive against the coronavirus.

The system shall “track the supply and distribution of vaccines nationwide” as well as the doses delivered to the country, he said.

“The DICT shall ensure the security of the VIMS as it allows information and data exchange with other systems,” Mr. Caintic said.

He said the agency has been working with local governments, private groups and individuals to utilize the system’s “maximum capacity.”

“We are also working on having more granular level of reporting to come up with data-driven decisions at both national and local levels,” he said.

Meanwhile, Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. said the government is partnering with the private sector to establish “mega vaccination centers” in shopping malls.

In a hearing conducted by the House of Representatives committees on health, and trade and industry, the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine head said major malls and retailers have pledged their facilities for vaccination purposes in the Metro Manila area.

“Later on, all malls… will be designated as mega vaccine sites,” he said.

He also said the private sector has committed to mobilize five big hospitals for the vaccination drive.

“They (the private sector) were more than willing to provide spaces and also personnel, no charge to the government, and provide the services for the country, so that we can mobilize the inoculations,” he said.

With the private sector’s participation, Mr. Galvez said they are hoping to conduct one million jabs per week, which will require an additional personnel of up to 50,000.

Health Undersecretary Myrna C. Cabotaje, however, said in the same hearing that additional manpower for the inoculation program might be difficult to find.

The Health department currently has only 3,000 inoculators.

“The HRH (human resource for health) is the biggest challenge,” she said in Filipino.

Ms. Cabotaje also said apart from human resources, the availability of vaccine supply will determine the daily inoculation output. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Gillian M. Cortez