Palace backs plans to tap pharmacists, midwives as vaccinators

Palace backs plans to tap pharmacists, midwives as vaccinators

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday expressed support for the health department’s proposal to allow pharmacists and midwives as vaccinators for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.

In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the country would need more vaccinators to inoculate an initial 50 to 70 million Filipinos this year, with the first doses expected to arrive by February.

Tama po iyan. Dahil alam natin na 50 to 70 million ang target natin sa taong ito ay talagang kinakailangan natin ng lalo pang mas maraming magbibigay ng bakuna (That’s correct. Because we know that our target is to inoculate 50 to 70 million people this year, so we need more vaccinators),” he said.

On Saturday, the Department of Health (DOH) said it is studying the possibility of allowing pharmacists and midwives as vaccinators.

To date, only doctors and nurses are allowed to administer the Covid-19 vaccine.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Eric Domingo said the DOH will draft guidelines on who is allowed to administer the vaccine.

Under the Philippine Pharmacy Act, pharmacists are allowed to administer adult vaccines provided that they will undergo the training on the safe administration of vaccine shots and management of adverse event following immunization and hold a certificate of training issued by an institution duly accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission.

In a separate briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the department is studying how it can provide pharmacists training so they can become vaccinators.

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Philippine Midwifery Act, midwives are allowed to administer vaccines, especially in the agency’s national immunization program.

Vergeire said midwives are allowed to vaccinate children and the elderly but only under the supervision of a physician or nurse.

Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon last week said he would propose a bill to train more Filipinos to administer vaccines.

Gordon earlier questioned the DOH’s capability to conduct the vaccination program with only 617,239 health care workers to participate in the campaign based on the department’s data.

Of the 617,239, 73,836 are from private health institutions, 64,998 from public health facilities, 29,000 are DOH-employed, 30,629 are hired by the local government units (LGU), 194,269 are contact tracers, 207,320 are barangay health workers, while 17,034 are social workers.

About PHP82.5 billion was allocated by the government for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines this year, of which, PHP70 billion will be sourced from foreign loans.

In December last year, the government announced that 12 coronavirus-hit areas have been classified as priority areas for its free vaccination drive namely Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Davao City, Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio City, Bacolod, Iloilo, Zamboanga City, Tacloban City, and General Santos City. (PNA)

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