MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) maintained that based on the COVID-19 prioritization framework protocol, healthcare workers must be the top priority.
In the event that a healthcare worker withdraws his or her slot, anyone who should take his or her COVID vaccine must still be a healthcare worker and not from other sectors, may it be a senior citizen or even a local official or just any personality.
The DOH clarified this after incidents of vaccination of personalities who are not on the priority list, specifically in Parañaque City.
“Iyong unang guidelines ng DOH sa Astrazeneca, ire-reserve mo yung second jab. Ire-reserve mo. Pero naglabas sila ng panibagong guidelines na yung second jab, pwede nating gamitin as first jab. So, nagkaroon tayo ng extra yon, kaya mayroon tayong extra sa health worker na nagamit natin sa Senior Citizen,” Mayor Edwin Olivarez of Parañaque City argued after they vaccinated some senior citizens in his area.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said hospitals and local government units have been asked long before the vaccination of a quick substitution list.
Thus, they cannot argue that to avoid wastage of vaccines, they can give them to just anyone outside the priority sector.
“Kung sino ang malalapit sa inyo na mga private hospitals maybe or mga private clinics isama niyo na diyan sa inyong pagbabakuna. Never did we say that we are going to the next sector. Diyan po sa (Quick substitution list) QSL sector natin nalalagay din dyan that everybody will be informed and instructed when we are going to shift and go to the next sector already,” Vergeire said.
“So maliwang iyan nasa A Sector tayo ngayon. Your Quick Substitution List should include all healthcare workers and frontliners who are directly caring for our COVID-19 patients,” she added.
Vergeire explained that though actor Mark Anthony Fernandez’s condition is something that can be considered to have comorbidity, still he is not part of the priority list.
“Hindi pa po tayo nandoon sa level ng sector na iyong para bigyan sila ng bakunang ito. Pangalawa, nagbigay na po ng abiso ang WHO na sana ang AstraZeneca vaccines ay maibigay natin sa healthcare workers para hindi ma- compromise ang ating succeeding supplies manggagaling sa COVAX,” Vergeire noted.
The DOH, also warned against COVID-19 vaccines that are being sold in the black or online market as they can be counterfeit.
“Kapag may nagbebenta sa inyo ng mga bakuna alalahannin po ninyo na wala pang binibigyan ng authority para makapagbenta commercially,” Vergeire said.
“Ibig sabihin iyang bakunang iyan maybe galing sa backdoor, walang registration po iyan ng FDA or authority.. Malamang iyan po ay fake and might cause harm than benefit you are expecting,” she added.
Meanwhile, the DOH explained that AstraZeneca vaccines that were returned from Bicol wouldn’t be wasted.
The DOH official explained that after tests by World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF Representatives on the returned vials, it was found out that they can still be used.
“Ito pong isang box ng bakuna na ito, na check na natin at may initial information and recommendation na itutuloy ang pagbabakuna dahill potent pa ang vaccines,” Vergeire said.
“We will have to complete the reports that’s why we have a composite team to check it again later this afternoon,” she concluded. –MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)