DOH to craft guidelines on vaccinating health workers' relatives vs COVID-19

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2021 02:44 PM | Updated as of May 29 2021 02:52 PM

DOH to craft guidelines on vaccinating health workers' relatives vs COVID-19 1
Health workers administer AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to education frontliners during a symbolic vaccination ceremony for Marikina Polytechnic College and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina at the Marikina Sports Center on May 19, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— The Department of Health will be crafting guidelines for vaccinating relatives of health care workers against COVID-19 even as the country's supply remains limited, an official said Saturday.

In public press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they are looking at prioritizing the vaccination of immediate relatives of health care workers, depending on the number of available doses. 

“Kailangan makapag-release ng guidelines para magkaroon ng pamantayan. Kailangan lang po siguro po nuclear family ang unahin - this will depend on the doses that we have right now,” Vergeire said. 

(We have to release guidelines so we could set rules. We will probably have to prioritize the nuclear family of frontliners. This will depend on the doses that we have right now.) 

The inter-agency task force leading the country’s COVID-19 response earlier said immediate family members of health workers will be placed in the A1 priority— the same level as frontliners— once there is available vaccine supply for them. 

Video courtesy of PTV

At least 85 percent of medical frontliners all over the country have been vaccinated, according to the health department. 

Video courtesy of PTV

Philippine Medical Association President Dr. Benito Atienza welcomed the development, saying this would help ease the worries of medical workers who fear they might infect their loved ones at home. 

“Ang nagiging problema kahit ang health worker at doktor ang inaano po natin is baka po tayo ay mahawa pa rin at nakikita natin na kahit nababakunahan ang mga doktor at nurses, may iilan pa ring nahahawa. Kasi sabi nga natin dapat nakukumpleto ang bakuna para maprotektahan laban sa severe COVID pero maaari pa ring mahawa,” Atienza said. 

(The problem is that even as health workers and doctors are our priority, there are some who still get infected. They should get complete vaccination to be fully protected against severe COVID-19 symptoms but they can still get infected.) 

“At pag-uwi sa bahay, nag-aagam-agam pa rin ang ating health workers kasi nga po 'yung wala pang bakuna ang kanilang mahal sa buhay. Hindi naman pong puwedeng hindi sila uuwi kaya may iba na nagre-rent ng bahay o hotel para mag-quarantine,” Atienza added. 

(Health workers still worry as their loved ones are not vaccinated yet. Others as a result still rent houses or go to hotels for quarantine.) 

The Philippines has received some 8.279 million COVID-19 shots, with at least 4.495 million already administered nationwide as of May 25.