DOH to probe vaccination of non-health workers


DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday, March 4, 2021, said they will look into the vaccination of government officials using the Sinovac vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Duque said the prioritization framework, which gives healthcare workers first priority in getting vaccinated, should be followed given the limited supply of vaccines.

He said the estimated 1.7 million healthcare workers in the country need a total of 3.4 million doses. The 600,000 doses of CoronaVac, the vaccine developed by Sinovac, can vaccinate only about 17 percent.

President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered vaccine czar and National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon and Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos to get inoculated in a bid to boost confidence in the vaccine.

Other government officials who received the vaccine were Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, Pasay City Vice Mayor Noel Boyet Del Rosario, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chief of staff Michael Salalima and Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan, who is also a doctor.

Malaya, who was vaccinated at the Pasay City General Hospital on Tuesday, March 2, said in a separate television interview that he and the others are entitled to the vaccine since they are also considered frontliners.

“Kami kasi sa DILG maituturing din kaming frontliner dahil nakikita niyo araw-araw lumalabas kami. Kailangan mauna ang government officials na magpabakuna para lumakas ang ating vaccine confidence,” he said.

(We, at DILG, are also considered frontliners because we go out to work everyday. Government officials must be inoculated first to boost vaccine confidence.)

Under the prioritization framework, however, first priority goes to healthcare workers, especially those in 34 Covid-19 referral and DOH hospitals.

The 34 hospitals include 32 in Metro Manila, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center is in Cebu City and the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

Other population groups in Priority Group A are senior citizens aged 60 years old and above, persons with comorbidities not otherwise included in the preceding categories, frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those identified as essential during ECQ, and indigent population not otherwise included in the preceding categories.

The military was allocated 100,000 out of the 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine, as indicated by China when it made the donation. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)


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