DOH: Bicol frontliners to be vaccinated first

By Mar S. Arguelles


The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol said some 80,000 frontliners would be inoculated first once the anti-Covid-19 vaccines arrive in the region.


Given priority are all frontline health workers from the private and public sector on active practice and involved in the prevention, control of the virus disease, Dr. Lulu Ramos Santiago, DOH Bicol Covid-19 coordinator.


Santiago, in a virtual media briefing, said the master listing of health frontliners is on-going as the list would also include other health workers providing health services in primary health care units such as rural health units (RHUs) in towns and cities, provincial health offices (PHOs), and hospitals.


Included in the list are health workers manning disinfection facilities, members of decontamination teams, medical social workers, and security guards.


Next in the order of priority are indigent senior citizens (SC) registered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), indigent individuals and uniformed personnel (AFP, PNP, PCG, BFP, and Cafgu) in active service.


Santiago, when asked if the national government has already issued an official Covid-19 vaccine guidelines, said the set of guidelines are being released on gradual basis depending on the approved policy released by the President and the national task force on Covid-19.


Various Bicol local government units (LGUs) are still waiting for the national vaccine guidelines to enable them to prepare, prioritize their respective vaccination program and funding.


Under the guidelines issued by the national Covid-19 task force, LGUs must seek first the approval of the tripartite committee whether the vaccines they intend to purchase has passed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authority (EUA) application, Santiago said.


“Only the FDA-EUA accredited vaccines would be recommended to LGUs for them to purchase,” she said.


Among the pharmaceutical firms’ EUA application that are being considered by the FDA are: Pfizer-Biontech; AstraZeneca’s-Chadox1-S (Recombinant); Gamaleya-Sputnik V Gam-COVID-VAC; and Sinovac-Coronavac Sars-COV-2 vaccine (Vero Cell).


DOH clarified that EUA is not a marketing authorization or a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR), thus it cannot be used as an authorization to market the vaccine commercially.