MANILA - Government will expand the COVID-19 vaccination to doctors' clinics and workplace health facilities during the fourth round of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Days on March 10 to 12, officials said Tuesday.
The Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 has partnered with the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine College of Occupational Medicine to bring COVID jabs closer to the public, according to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, head of the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).
"We will now allow them to do the vaccination in their clinics. Kasi katulad ng sinabi ni Secretary Vince (Dizon), mahirap nang hanapin ang iba pa, those who do not see the urgency," she told reporters.
(Just like what Secretary Vince said, it's hard to find those who have yet to be vaccinated, those who do not see the urgency.)
"This partnership is a way of access para sa kanilang mga pasyente na kumukonsulta sa kanila (for the patients who consult them). It's an innovative way of trying to ramp up the vaccination."
The fourth run of the nationwide vaccination drive aims to inoculate a total of 1.8 million people, particularly the elderly which has a vaccine coverage of 74 percent or 6.8 million out of 8.7 million, Cabotaje said.
"We've identified provinces saan mababa ng vaccination rate, provinces na mababa pa ang A2 (elderly), di pa naka-reach ng 80 percent. Sa mga okay na ang vaccination rate ang ifo-focus ay booster," she said.
Brand vaccine allocation will depend on the clinic's cold chain capability, according to Cabotaje. The NVOC has yet to finalize the list of participating clinics, she said.
The PMA will also meet later Tuesday to coordinate with different medical societies and discuss logistics, said its president Benito Atienza.
"Kung may special storage facility sila pwede bigyan ng Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 17 (years old). May few partners, mga pediatrician na mabibigyan din ng (vaccine for) 5 to 11 (years old). Kaya lang medyo alalay muna tayo sa pagbibigay ng 5 to 11 kasi kulang pa ang bakuna," Cabotaje said.
(If they have a special storage facility we can give them Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 17. There are a few partners, pediatricians who can be given vaccine for 5 to 11, but we're working on this because we don't have enough supply of vaccines.)
"Ang general rule bibigyan po ang 12 to 17 kung may capability. Generally 18 and above po ang bibibigyan ng bakuna."
(The general rule is clinic would be given vaccines for 12 to 17 years old if they have capability. Generally those 18 and above will receive the vaccine.)
Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Action Plan Against COVID-19, said he supports the recommendation of the vaccine expert panel to administer a fourth dose for the elderly and immunocompromised.
"Yes, we fully support the recommendations of the vaccine expert panel. Form the very beginning we've been working with the VEP very closely. Importante po ang fourth shot (A fourth shot is important) for our elderly and immunocompromised," he said.
"I think inaayos na ng NVOC ang pag-implement niyan at mangyayari na 'yan very soon."
(I think the NVOC is working on its implementation and it will happen very soon.)
The recommendation has been "endorsed and other experts are also looking at a consensus," Cabotaje said.
"Maybe in a couple of weeks we'll have the final consensus among our experts," she said.