Gov't to strictly follow priority list for COVID-19 vaccination after "few breaches" involving some gov't officials
Malacanang assured on Thursday that the government will strictly follow the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination.
In a televised press briefing in Cebu, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there could be a number of government officials who were able to get their first shot of China's Sinovac vaccine the past days.
However, he said through these "few breaches" they have learned.
"The implementation of the protocol was not perfect, we had few breaches, but we have learned from the breaches and not everyone knows that medical frontliners should be the first (to be vaccinated)," Roque said.
Aside from National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and NTF Deputy Chief Implementer Vivencio Dizon as well as Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya and MMDA chief of staff Michael Salalima were able to get their first shot of Sinovac vaccine even if they did not belong to the priority sector.
There were also members of the family of health workers in a government hospital who received the vaccine.
Due to limited vaccine supply, the government is prioritizing at least 1.7 million healthcare workers in public and private hospitals nationwide as well as health workers in local government units.
In the case of Malaya and Salalima, Roque said the two were only prodded during the rollout of the vaccination program in Pasay City.
"Well, courtesy of these three incidents, everyone should know now that the first doses of vaccine that have arrived are for the medical frontliners only," he said.
There was earlier proposal to give vaccine to some 50 "influencers" from various sectors to boost confidence among the Filipinos on the inoculation program. But the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group rejected it.
"So now, I don't think there is a need to tell anyone else that the medical frontliners should first be given the vaccine despite whatever protocol the NITAG will make. Until all the medical frontliners are vaccinated, that (prioritization) won't change, medical frontliners first," said Roque, also the spokesman of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
With the arrival of United Kingdom's AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Thursday night, Roque expressed belief that similar protocol with China's Sinovac vaccine would be followed. He said the priority remains the medical frontliners. Celerina Monte/DMS