MANILA - Designated COVID-19 hospitals in Metro Manila will be the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines that are set to arrive in the country next week, a Department of Health official (DOH) said Monday.
The Metro Manila Center for Health Development chief Dr. Corazon Flores these hospitals include Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Tala, Caloocan; Philippine General Hospital in Manila; and the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City. The National Kidney Transplant Institute's inclusion has yet to be finalized.
Flores said their top priority will be 4,557 employees and health workers from PGH, 1,900 in Tala hospital, and 1,117 from the Lung Center. She mentioned no specific figures yet for the rest of the hospitals.
“Ongoing po yung uploading ng data sa COVID electronic information registry,” she told ABS-CBN News.
Metro Manila has about 104,000 health workers in both government and private hospitals, to include clinics and other health facilities, according to DOH-MMCHD’s data.
“Siyempre, pagdating ng vaccine, dadaan pa sa RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), ita-transport pa 'yan sa hospital kaya hindi po natin mai-specific ang date (pag bakuna), but tentatively we have to prepare by next week,” she said.
For the Tala Hospital, Flores said that its nurses, doctors and other employees, like the security and maintenance staff, whether contractual or permanent employees, are all listed as priority for the vaccine.
While the taking the COVID shot is voluntary, Flores said the DOH will continue to enlighten health workers of the importance and benefit of the vaccine through town hall meetings in hospitals.
“Yung iba kasi na tumatanggi eh, namimili ng vaccine. 'Yan naman po naririnig natin, kaya po we are continuously giving the education campaign, information drive, even sa hospital para ma-clarify,” she said.
“Kailangan makinig tayo sa information, we ensure that the vaccine will be given are of quality and pumasa sa FDA natin," she added.
The hospitals have also already conducted their simulation of the vaccination process, Flores said. She suggested having a proper schedule and contingency plan as most hospital workers are expected to get back to work right after taking the vaccine.
“Let's say we have 10 health workers, there pwedeng tatlo muna ngayon, tomorrow 'yung another 3, then next day another 3 para hindi lang mawalan ng naka duty doon sa ward,” she said.
In recent weeks the government’s Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) team has made rounds in different cities in Metro Manila to evaluate masterlists, microplans and the mapping of vaccination sites and preparedness of vaccination teams and cold storage facilities.
“Sa atin pong publiko, ito na po hinihintay natin para tayo maproteksyunan, tayo magpabakuna para sa COVID-19," Flores urged.
Vaccine Czar Sec. Carlito Galvez earlier said the government targets 50-70 million Filipinos will be inoculated by the end of 2021.