Vaccines lessen nurses' fears but 'no antidote' to tiredness as COVID-19 cases surge: group

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2021 09:51 AM | Updated as of Mar 21 2021 10:12 AM

Vaccines lessen nurses' fears but 'no antidote' to tiredness as COVID-19 cases surge: group 1
Philippine General Hospital (PGH) health workers stage a picket protest outside the hospital along Taft Avenue in Manila on February 26, 2021. Led by the All UP Workers Union, doctors, nurses, and students demanded the government to provide them a safe COVID-19 vaccine, with high efficacy and effectivity. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Nurses' fear of contracting COVID-19 is lessened by the vaccine but there is "no antidote" to being tired as virus cases surged nationwide, a group said Sunday.

The workload of nurses increases whenever a colleague is quarantined after being exposed to the virus, said Melbert Reyes, president of the Philippine Nurses Association.

"Sobrang hirap po ng sitwasyon natin ngayon kasi even our nurses are being infected by COVID-19... Very alarming po 'yan at nakakatakot po 'yan para sa ating healthcare system," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(It's very difficult now because even our nurses are being infected by COVID-19... This is very alarming and scary for our healthcare system.)

"Nababawasan po ang fear because of vaccine. Pero po yung pagod, wala pong antidote sa pagod. Talaga pong napapagod ang ating COVID ward."

(Our fear is lessened because of the vaccines, but there is no antidote to tiredness. Handling a COVID ward is tiresome.)

The Philippines rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1, prioritizing health workers.

The Filipino Nurse United (FNU) had expressed alarm over the increasing number of health workers contracting COVID-19, with 5,355 nurses comprising 36 percent of the 14,963 infected cases among the group.

With health care facilities at 60-80 percent capacity, nurses are exhausted and demoralized with continuous work, said the FNU.

So far, there is no shortage of nurses in the country, according to the Reyes.

"With the data we have, wala pong shortage. Meron pong maldistribution... If ma-entice ng government for nurses to go back into nursing field, much better po 'yun," he said.

(With the data we have, there is no shortage, only maldistribution... If ma-entice ng government for nurses to go back into nursing field, that would be much better.)

Government had placed a limit of 5,000 on the deployment of healthworkers overseas to avoid a supposed shortage in the event the pandemic worsens.

The Philippines on Saturday logged a new record-high of single-day infections at 7,999, raising its total COVID-19 cases to 656,056.

Metro Manila hospitals are expected to reach full capacity by next week if the virus reproduction rate of 1.9 does not slow down, the OCTA Research Group said.

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