‘Suntok sa buwan’: Drilon expresses misgivings on gov’t COVID-19 vaccination plan

Robie de Guzman   •   January 12, 2021   •   499

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday described the national government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan as “suntok sa buwan” after the Senate conducted a hearing to tackle the program.

“Parang suntok sa buwan ang vaccination program lalo na yung sinasabi nila na 148 million doses within the year. The arrival of the vaccines is not even definite,” Drilon said in a statement.

“How can they say that they will be able to purchase 148 million doses by the end of 2021 when up to now, we haven’t given any Emergency Use Authorization to any vaccine and we have not been able to raise, through loans, all the needed amount for the purchase of the vaccines?” he added.

Government officials involved in the COVID-19 response on Monday faced senators to explain the administration’s plans for the immunization of Filipinos against the novel coronavirus disease.

The government earlier said it is planning to inoculate 70 million Filipinos this year and that it is eyeing to rollout the vaccination plan in the coming months when the initial batch of at least 50,000 vaccines is delivered in February.

The Food and Drug Administration previously said it may issue an emergency use authorization for the application of Pfizer and AstraZeneca within January.

“I am not reassured in the slightest by what I heard. To be honest, I am more confused now. The government’s Covid-19 vaccination plan fails to provide the public the assurance they need from the government,” Drilon said.

“The plan is good on paper. The plan is filled with uncertainties and it leaves too much to chance,” he added.

Drilon said the government’s target of securing 148 million doses within the year is “simply difficult to achieve given what Sec. Carlito Galvez said that 80% of global supply has already been procured by rich countries.”

“If only the government was able to make advanced purchases last year, similar to other low-and-middle income countries such as Indonesia and Brazil, maybe we would have a better chance of securing these 148 million doses of vaccines this year,” he added.

The minority leader added the funding is not even guaranteed at this point as the government has not fully secured the necessary loans to fund the P70 billion in the unprogrammed fund for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

The government has allotted P82.5 billion for the purchase of the vaccines but only P12.5 billion is in the programmed appropriation – P2.5 billion will come from the General Appropriations Act and another P10 billion under the extended Bayanihan 2.

“They have a better chance of achieving their targets if they lift the restriction that they set that prevents local chief executives and the private sector from buying vaccines directly from the manufacturers,” Drilon said.

“It will facilitate a speedy purchase of the much-needed vaccines. I believe there is a consensus among the senators insofar as lifting this restriction is concerned,” he added.

IBP welcomes IATF move to include lawyers in COVID-19 vaccination priority list

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday welcomed the decision of the government’s task force for COVID-19 response to include lawyers in the groups to be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Malacañang earlier announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has listed lawyers under the A4 category which includes frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors.

The Palace said that the A4 priority list includes the following:

  • Workers in commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
  • Public and private wet and dry market vendors
  • Frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
  • Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • Frontline workers in private and government financial services
  • Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
  • Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
  • Security guards/ personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • Frontline workers in private and government news media
  • Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
  • Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months
  • Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection;
  • Worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
  • Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
  • Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel in consular operations
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

“We are thankful that the request for inclusion of lawyers as A4 in vaccine prioritization was favorably acted upon,” IBP president Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a statement.

“Litigation lawyers, prosecutors, PAO lawyers, and lawyers who are frontliners in the justice/law sector who are at risk of COVID-19 infection should be similarly protected as the magistrates and court employees,” he added.

Cayosa assured that the IBP will “fully cooperate to ensure fair and efficient allocation of vaccines.”

DOH updates guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has revised its guidelines on the government’s COVID-19 vaccination and deployment program.

Under the Department Memorandum No. 2021-0175, the DOH said that individuals who recently recovered from COVID-19 may be vaccinated immediately after recovery or completion of treatment for their first or second dose.

The DOH previously said that persons who tested positive for COVID-19 had to wait for 90 days before they get vaccinated.

This development comes after the country’s vaccine experts panel recommended inoculating COVID-19 survivors 14 days after their recovery.

The new DOH guidelines also state that individuals who were not able to receive their second dose due to medical reasons must coordinate with their respective vaccination sites for the immediate rescheduling of their vaccination.

The agency also said that only individuals experiencing a blood pressure (BP) of 180/120 or higher, with signs and symptoms of organ damage during the screening process, cannot be vaccinated.

“Other vaccine recipients with blood pressure not meeting definitions of hypertensive emergency may be vaccinated,” the DOH said.

The department also emphasized that medical clearance is not required for vaccination, except for individuals with autoimmune disease, HIV, cancer patients currently undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, transplant patients, those undergoing steroid treatment, and patients who are bedridden or with a poor prognosis.

The national government is currently vaccinating persons and workers belonging to A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidities) priority sectors. The Inter-Agency Task Force has also approved the list of sectors that are included in the A4 group.

The DOH earlier reported that over one million Filipinos have been vaccinated against COVID-19 disease.

The agency, however, reminded to continue observing minimum public health standards even after vaccination to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

IATF OKs A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the list of sectors included in the A4 priority group of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the A4 priority list includes the following:

  • Workers in commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
  • Public and private wet and dry market vendors
  • Frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
  • Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • Frontline workers in private and government financial services
  • Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
  • Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
  • Security guards/ personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • Frontline workers in private and government news media
  • Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
  • Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months

Also included in the A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination are the following:

  • Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection;
  • Worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
  • Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
  • Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel in consular operations
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

Roque said the IATF approved the A4 list on Thursday, April 15.

The Palace official likewise announced that the IATF has approved the continuation of the training of the national athletes at the Olympic Training Bubble in Calamba, Laguna as well as the extension of the temporary suspension of foreign nationals until April 30, 2021.

Foreign nationals with valid entry exemption documents duly issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to March 22, 2021 will be allowed entry to the Philippines.

The IATF also approved the extension of the risk-level classification of Quirino Province under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine until April 30, Roque said.

 

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.