MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it would allow Filipinos to check the syringe used in their COVID-19 vaccination as reports of failed injections continued to hound the government's inoculation program.
Several recipients of COVID-19 vaccines in various cities have been uploading videos online showing that some medical personnel failed to properly inject the vaccine.
"Kung gusto po na ipakita ang hiringilya bago iturok at matapos iturok, amin pong susuportahan," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.
(If they want to show the syringes before and after the vaccination, we will support that.)
"Kung gagawin po ito ng ating mga vaccination sites para sa ikakapanatag ng loob ng ating mga kababayan, we can do that," she said.
(If this will be done in vaccination sites for the peace of mind of our countrymen, we can do that.)
The DOH does "not intend to penalize anybody" for forgetting to inject the contents of syringes, Vergeire said.
"Itong nakita nating lapse in the process, wala namang masamang intensyon. These are just human errors," she said.
(The lapses that we see in the process, there were no ill intentions. These are just human errors.)
The DOH has been reorienting medical workers in vaccination sites nationwide to ensure that errors like these would be limited if not avoided, she said.
"Itong mga nagbabakuna sa atin ay experts na. Dekada na ang binibilang sa ginagawa nilang pagbabakuna. Sila ay nagbabakuna for years already in our national health program," she said.
(Those administering the vaccines are experts. They have spent decades vaccinating people. They have been vaccinating for years already in our national health program.)
"Nagkaroon din po tayo ng training or refresher or orientation para sa kanilang lahat," she said.
(We also have trainings or refreshers or orientations for all of them.)
"Sa bawat dating ng bakuna na bago, mayroon po tayong specific na orientation para diyan... Hindi lang 'yung mismong administration, pero pati 'yung storage niya, 'yung paglalagay sa hiringilya from the vial," she said.
(For every new vaccine arrives, we have a specific orientation for that... Not just about the administration of the vaccine, but also about the storage, how they will transfer the contents from the vial to the syringe.)
The health department has also deployed "overseers or supervisors that will go around vaccination sites" to ensure that COVID-19 jabs are properly administered and handled, she said.
Meanwhile, the DOH is still investigating reports on the illegal sale of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, Vergeire said.
"Aware kami sa pagbebenta. Ako'y nalulungkot bakit kailangan magkaroon ng ganitong pagkakataon na people are taking advantage of what we have right now," she said.
(We are aware of reports that some are illegally selling COVID-19 vaccines. I am sad that there are incidents where people are taking advantage of what we have right now.)
Since it began its COVID-19 inoculation program in March, the Philippines has been grappling with vaccine supply.
As of June 28, the country has received 17.4 million doses from AstraZeneca, Gamaleya, Moderna, Pfizer, and Sinovac.
This supply would only cover 8.7 million Filipinos. Government aims to inoculate at least 58 million by yearend to achieve population protection.
The DOH official reminded the public to only acquire COVID-19 jabs from the government.
"Huwag ho kayo bibili sa ibang tao dahil wala silang pagkukunan niyang bakuna na iyan," she said.
As of June 27, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 2.5 million Filipinos while 7.5 million others have received their first dose.