During an interview at “Talakayan sa PIA” cum radio program over DWCN-FM on Feb. 15, DOH Provincial Officer Dra. Jocelyn M. Iraola discussed the COVID-19 vaccine program's 10 "must know for everyone".
She said that the road map of the COVID-19 vaccination program is a whole and all society approach in collaboration with national government agencies, local government units, and private sectors.
The objective of the program is to save lives and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has specific goals which include the launching of a national vaccination program against COVID-19 and providing free and effective, high quality vaccines against SARS-Cov 2 prioritizing those most at risk and the vulnerable population.
The vaccine benefits are to prevent symptomatic infection, prevent severe infection and prevent transmission. The government targets herd immunity or 70% of population that need to be vaccinated. Priority ages are 18 years old and above.
The vaccines that will be used will depend on the on-going purchase of the national government. In order to ensure that it is safe and efficacious, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will issue Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
She urged the public especially those in the priority lists of the national government to avail of the vaccine because it is free.
Piority eligible Group A includes the frontline health workers public and private, indigent Senior Citizen (SC), remaining SC, remaining indigent population, uniformed personnel, Barangay Health Workers other national government agencies.
Teachers, social workers, other government workers, socio-demographic groups, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), other remaining work force while Group C are all remaining Filipino citizens belong to the prority eligible Group B.
The national government is working in partnership with the local governments to get the vaccines. The LGUs will arrange for the registration and scheduling of vaccination as well as identifying vaccination sites.
Dra. Iraola stressed that they will see to it that they obtain accurate information from the right sources who are licensed professionals before the vaccination. She also advised the public to always verify what they read and hear.
The national government will conduct the vaccination based on the prioritization and scheduled delivery of vaccines.
Anyone may decline or withdraw from being vaccinated by signing a waiver forfeiting his or her slot according to prioritization.
The DOH is also coordinating with the local government units to ensure allocation of adequate doses of the same Philippine FDA approved brand for those who will be vaccinated.
For those who previously recovered from COVID-19, it is still recommended to get vaccinated.
During vaccination, those in the list should go to the assigned vaccination site as scheduled and observe minimum health standards. The Adverse Effects Following Immunization (AEFIs) will strictly be monitored by health professionals.
Most COVID-19 vaccines offer protection after two doses and should complete the second dose even if they experience some usual symptoms.
"We should be aware that COVID-19 vaccine is just an additional tool to protect ourselves even after vaccination, a person still need to practice the minimum health standards. Protecting our families is getting ourselves and immediate relatives vaccinated and likewise, recommend the vaccine outside our immediate families” she said.
Only COVID-19 vaccines with Phil. FDA certification and are transported under strict cold chain conditions can provide full protection to those who will be vaccinated.
She added that the LGU's role is to prepare COVID-19 vaccine operation center; prepare master list of eligible population; do micro-planning and mapping of vaccine sites and workforce; provide capacity building, trainings and advocacy communication, engagement and social mobilization; preparation of AEFI for the surveillance system; and implement vaccination and monitoring. (PIA 5/Camarines Norte)
By Rosalita B. Manlangit