PH assures strict prioritization of health workers in vax drive

MANILA – The government has assured that the priority framework of the vaccination rollout of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) jabs will be strictly followed.

In a statement on Friday night, National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the framework prioritizes medical front-liners and health care workers, to be followed by senior citizens and other vulnerable sectors. 

Galvez also thanked government officials, civil society organizations, and other personalities for volunteering to get inoculated in public to boost the people’s trust and confidence in the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

“We value your support and appreciate your intention,” he said. “Indeed, seeing our leaders getting inoculated will significantly affect the perception and decision of our countrymen on the vaccine program.”

However, due to the limited global supply of vaccines, Galvez said the government would have to adhere to the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to strictly allocate the Covid-19 vaccines to health care workers.

“The allocation of vaccines must strictly follow the priority framework issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (for) Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to ensure that those who have the highest risk of exposure and death will be protected,” he said.

Galvez noted that the prioritization primarily targets to protect and preserve the country’s health care system amid the health crisis.

“The same priority groups have also been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) with respect to the vaccine rollout of almost 44 million doses from the COVAX facility,” he said.

Galvez said all doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from the WHO-led COVAX facility must be given to the priority groups, starting with health care workers and medical professionals.

“Giving the vaccines to other sectors when not all health care workers have been vaccinated will jeopardize succeeding deliveries from COVAX,” he said.

Galvez said all Covid-19 vaccines that are set to arrive within this month would be strictly allocated to health care workers nationwide.

“Initial deliveries for April will also follow this allocation until we have completely inoculated nearly two million individuals under this sector,” he added.

Succeeding sectors in the priority list, including those who will participate in boosting public trust in the vaccination campaign, will be served once the country receives the vaccine supplies for the second and third quarters of the year.

“By respecting and following the priority framework, we will be able to reduce Covid-19 morbidity and mortality, protect the populations most at risk (from) the disease, slow down the transmission rate, and minimize social and economic disruptions. We need to preserve our health care institution,” Galvez said.  Lade Jean Kabagani / PNA –