Pharmacists, midwives ready to step up as vaccinators

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 19 2021 07:10 PM

A woman is vaccinated against the novel coronavirus Covid-19 in Papeete, French Polynesia, on January 12, 2021. - Politicians, doctors and people over the age of 75 volunteered to be vaccinated, a dozen people are vaccinated per day since January 11. Suliane Favennec, AFP

MANILA - The groups of midwives and pharmacists are ready to step up to the plate in the government’s vaccination plan against COVID-19.

“We happy ngayon na kinoconsider kami ng government to be part of this and were willing to help and to support the program and its proper implementation,” said Gilda Sebua Saljay, president of the Philippine Pharmacists Association.

Saljay said in an interview on TeleRadyo Tuesday that they are in talks with the Department of Health on their deployment plan. The government plans to vaccinate 50 to 70 million people this year.

“Ngayon nga po isasama ang mga pharmacist for the deployment of this COVID-19 vaccine. This is the opportune time for us to really implement itong nakalagay sa law namin—Pharmacy law,” she said.

Saljay explained that pharmacists in the Philippines are authorized to conduct vaccination, in accordance with the pharmacy law.

“We are a member of the International Pharmaceutical Federation and ang member nung 152 countries. Out of that, 36 countries lang ang may authorization to do vaccination, at ang Pilipinas ay isa sa mga countries na allowed. Di pa po namin na fully implement yun pero meron na kaming official trainings,” she said.

Their group, she said, has initial trainings and is now focused on training more pharmacists as vaccinators.

“Naghahanda na ang grupo namin na makapag-produce ng vaccinators from our group. Pinapaigting na lang ang training to improve competencies and confidence to do vaccination,” she said.

She added that Philippines has around 25,000 pharmacists, who are strategically positioned in the community and know how to handle medicines.

In the same interview, Corazon Paras, president of the Integrated Midwives Association, shared her group’s readiness to help government in its vaccination plan against COVID-19 but also want formal trainings to be conducted first.

Paras said there are about 176,000 registered pharmacists in the country but they have yet to get formal communications from the Department of Health.

“Sana dadaan ng proper orientation and training para hindi kami susulong lang nang walang kabala-bala, kailangang in placed muna. Hindi kami nag say no, but 'yun lang ang demand namin. We’re ready also just like the pharmacists,” Paras said.