MANILA, Philippines – The vital signs screening will no longer be included in the vaccination process against COVID-19 as part of efforts to expedite the immunization in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.
In an online press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have already issued guidelines regarding the matter after DOH advisors and vaccination experts approved the recommendation from the Philippine Heart Association and the Philippine Society of Hypertension.
She said the new policy was approved after a DOH time and motion study found that walk-in vaccine recipients and the vital signs screening were causing long queues in vaccination sites.
“Meron na ngayong patakaran here in Metro Manila ang ating mga local government, only those master listed should go to the vaccination site kaya lang ngayon siyempre ang mga kababayan natin, very eager sila na magpabakuna na kahit hindi sila yung scheduled for that day, they go to the vaccination site, so that’s one,” Vergeire said.
“Pangalawa, nakita natin na there are certain processes within our system na nakakatagal talaga and one of those would be the vital signs screening, yung pag-BP (blood pressure), pagkuha ng temperature, pagkuha ng pulse rate, ng heart rate,” she added.
Under the new guidelines, Vergeire said that healthcare workers only need to closely monitor individuals with established hypertension or organ damage prior to their vaccination.
“Ang kailangan lang nating bantayan, especially for the blood pressure, would be yung blood pressure na 180/120 or more. Pero yung iba, kahit tumataas yung presyon, maaari pa rin naman natin silang bakunahan,” she said.
“Naglagay rin tayo sa guidelines natin na there should be a separate lane para sa mga taong gusto nating obserbahan because of their established history ng kaniang mga sakit para hindi po sila nakakadagdag doon sa pila,” she added.
Vergeire also said that the DOH is eyeing to expand vaccination sites to help speed up the rollout.
The health official also noted that the public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines has increased citing a survey they conducted in March.
Vergeire said the poll showed that 75 percent of respondents said that they are willing to get immunized if a vaccine was available, and 85.8 percent said they would get inoculated if they knew that the vaccines were safe and effective.
“Nakita po natin yung pagtaas talaga ng kumpiyansa ng ating mga kababayan noong nakita nilang marami na ring nababakunahan,” she said.
The Philippines has so far administered over 2.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with over 500,000 who are fully vaccinated.