MANILA (2nd Update) - The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it is investigating a "clear breach" in the vaccination protocol after a vaccine recipient complained that a health worker failed to push the contents of the syringe during her inoculation against COVID-19.
A video taken at a vaccination site in Makati showing the vaccinator's failure to push the contents of the syringe went viral over the weekend, prompting outrage on social media.
"Sinisigurado po namin na ating iimbestigahan ang pangyayaring ito upang mapabuti ang ating national vaccination program," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.
(We assure the public that we are investigating this incident to improve our national vaccination program.)
"This is a clear breach of vaccination protocol," the DOH said.
The vaccine recipient, according to the DOH, was promptly and properly jabbed at the same site after she showed the video to the inoculation team.
"The Department (of Health) is investigating this breach in the vaccination protocol in coordination with the (local government unit) concerned, and reminds all vaccinators to take extra care and attention during inoculation," the agency said.
Duque said the "incident is being taken seriously and immediate improvements in the protocol shall be made to ensure we limit the chances of this from happening again."
"Sa pagdating ng mas maraming bakuna sa bansa, we will continue to improve our speed, scale, and quality of service," he said.
(With the arrival of more vaccines in the country, we will continue to improve our speed, scale and quality of service.)
Makati Mayor Abigail Binay attributed the incident to "human error on the part of the volunteer nurse that was immediately corrected."
"Nabakunahan po yung taong nasa video. Naintindihan po niya ang nangyari at siya mismo ang nagsabi na huwag tanggalin ang nurse. We ask simply for the public’s understanding," she said.
(The person on the video has been vaccinated. She also understood what happened, and was the one who asked us not to fire the nurse.)
In appealing for understanding, the city mayor said medical frontliners have been working hard for over a year already because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Maawa naman kayo sa nurse na nagkusang loob na mag-volunteer ng kaniyang oras para lamang mapabilis ang pagbabakuna sa ating mga residente," she said.
(Have pity on the nurse who volunteered and gave her time to ensure that we can vaccinate more residents as fast as possible.)
"Tao lang ang ating frontliners. Napapagod sila. Nagkakamali. Pero ang mahalaga, naayos agad ang pagkakamali. Humingi sya ng patawad, at sya naman ay pinatawad," Binay said.
(Frontliners are also humans. They get tired. They make mistakes. But what is important is the shortcomings are quickly addressed. She asked for forgiveness and she was forgiven.)
Based on the monitoring of the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, nearly 17.5 million doses of different COVID-19 vaccine brands have been delivered to the country, of which, more than 12 million have been distributed to the different LGUs.
As of June 27, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 2.5 million Filipino against COVID-19, after administering more than 10 million doses.
The government aims to inoculate 58 to 70 million people to attain herd immunity against the disease that has infected at least 1.3 million in the country since last year.
- with report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News