covid 19 / Philippines

Less than a month needed to vaccinate all health front-liners

By Azer Parrocha  

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (File photo)

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – The national government would only need less than a month to vaccinate all health front-liners in the country, Malacañang on Sunday said as the country expects the first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to arrive this month.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured that vaccination of health front-liners will finish quickly so that the other sectors included in the expanded priority list can immediately follow.

“Inaasahan po natin na sa buong linggo nito, sa buong buwan na darating eh at least lahat ng medical front-liners at saka mga immediate na may priority ay at least nasimulan na. Pero definitely hindi po aabot ng isang buwan para matapos natin ang lahat ng medical front-liners (We expect that this entire week, the entire next month, at least all medical front-liners and those in immediate priority will have started getting vaccinated. But it definitely won’t take longer than a month to finish vaccinating all medical front-liners),” he said in an interview over DZBB.

Roque said the government has already completed its list of names of health front-liners set to be inoculated with the vaccine.

“Sa katunayan yung mga medical front-liners, kumpleto na ang mga pangalan nila. Sa PGH [Philippine General Hospital], na isa sa mga pinakamaunang bibigyan nung darating na Pfizer may 5,000 pangalan na silang sinumite. Sabi naman nila, mabilis mababakunahan ang 5,000 nila (In fact, we have completed listing the names of medical front-liners. In PGH, one of the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine, there are 5,000 names submitted. They said they can quickly vaccinate all 5,000 of them),” he said.

Roque said the 117,000 doses will be used for health front-liners as identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“Lahat po yan mapupunta at ini-spell out na yan ng ating IATF, unang-una ang mga hospitals na referral centers natin: PGH, yung... Lung Center at iba pang mga hospitals, pagkatapos eh mga referral centers sa IATF, tapos yung mga DOH hospitals, tapos yung mga local government hospitals, tapos lahat ng pribadong hospital (All of it will go to health front-liners and it was already spelled out by IATF, first will be hospitals used as referral centers: PGH…the Lung Center and other hospitals, next would be DOH hospitals, and then local government hospitals, and then private hospitals),” he said.

He, meanwhile, allayed concerns that there would not be enough vaccines left for other sectors.

“Darating naman pong susunod ay AstraZeneca, malaki-laki naman po, hanggang 5 million yung Astrazeneca na darating (The next vaccine that would come is AstraZeneca, it’s a big number, around 5 million doses of Astrazeneca will be coming),” he said.

The Covid-19 vaccines arriving this month through the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility will only be 117,000 doses which can only protect 58,500 people as they need to receive two doses to protect them from the virus.

On Friday, the government released a new, detailed priority list in its Covid-19 vaccination program which now includes more sectors.

The list is as follows:

A1: Frontline workers in health facilities both national and local, private and public, health professionals and non-professionals like students, nursing aides, janitors, barangay health workers, etc.
A2: Senior citizens aged 60 and above
A3: Persons with comorbidities not otherwise included in the preceding categories
A4: Frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the IATF as essential during enhanced community quarantine
A5: Indigent population not otherwise included in the preceding categories
B1: Teachers, social workers
B2: Other government workers
B3: Other essential workers
B4: Socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk other than senior citizens and indigenous people
B5: Overseas Filipino Workers
B6: Other remaining workforce
C: Rest of the Filipino population not otherwise included in the above groups

The priority groups have been approved by country’s Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (INITAG). (PNA)

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