With VIP vaccination history, gov’t urged to listen to health professionals’ vaccine priority list plea

February 9, 2021 - 3:29 PM
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A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

Some Filipinos said the reminder of a healthcare alliance group calling on the public to be considerate of the COVID-19 vaccination priority list must be addressed to high-ranking government officials instead.

Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 or HPAAC appealed for everyone to “respect the COVID-19 vaccine prioritization” in view of circulating requests for vaccine registrations in public and private sectors.

Some local government units have already released pre-registration initiatives for their constituents who wanted to avail of the vaccine program against COVID-19.

These include the cities of Parañaque and Manila.

“HPAAC would like to remind the public that there is already a priority list of vaccine recipients. This science-based prioritization is done so we can protect those who are at the highest risk, and that the limited doses of vaccines are distributed to maximize protection and benefit to the entire community,” the group said.

“Herd immunity can be most efficiently attained if the prioritization list is followed. We are appealing to all Filipinos to be part of the greater good by respecting the priority list,” it added.

The group further said that it agrees with the priority list and called for “stronger leadership” from the government in order to ensure an “efficient and transparent roll out of the vaccination program against COVID-19.”

The appeal was echoed by opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros who likewise said that she is hoping the government’s vaccine priority list would be followed.

She also urged Filipinos to be aware of their schedule for vaccination based on the priority list.

“Kung kabilang kayo sa mga prayoridad na sektor, alamin sa inyong mga local officials at health authorities ang schedule ng bakunahan at kung kasama ang inyong pangalan sa masterlist ng mga eligible na magpabakuna,” Hontiveros tweeted.

The lawmaker also included the final priority list on her Twitter post as recently released by the government.

The topmost priority are “frontline workers in health facilities both national and local, private and public, health professionals and non-professionals like students, nursing aides, janitors, barangay health workers, etc.”

Next in line are senior citizens or people aged 60 years old and above and then persons with comorbidities.

Fourth are frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases as essential during enhanced community quarantine.

Fifth are the indigent population not otherwise included in the preceding categories.

VIP issues

Some Twitter, who said that the reminder of HPAAC should be  addressed to high-ranking government officials, cited the issue on VIP COVID-19 testing and the vaccination of members of the Presidential Security Group.

“Sabihan niyo ‘yung government officials na feeling importante palagi. Sa testing pa nga lang sumisingit na sila at nakaka ilang ulit pa, pano pa kaya sa bakuna,” a Twitter user said in response to the post.

“And yet this call should really be addressed to the government in charge of executing the immunization program,” an online user who describes himself as a molecular biologist tweeted.

In the first months of the coronavirus pandemic last year, politicians were criticized for undergoing COVID-19 tests  despite displaying no symptoms and despite then more limited test kits.

Testing was initially reserved to those who were symptomatic, those with travel history to countries with confirmed cases and those in close contact with an infected individual.

In December, calls for “#NotoVIPVaccination” gained traction after government officials, including President Rodrigo Duterte, revealed that some members of the PSG have already received COVID-19 vaccines.

Some officials justified the inoculation and said that it was done to “protect the president” who is considered a high-risk individual for his age.