We read some justification by a fellow of the OCTA Research Group that prioritizing vaccination in the National Capital Region and the nearby provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan – identified as part of the NCR Plus bubble – would help jumpstart the domestic economy, given the limited supply of anti-coronavirus jabs.
Ranjit Rye said while this suggestion might incite complaints from other regions, he believed re-allocating the scarce supplies “spatially”or territorially – while still following the risk-based approach of vaccinating health care workers first, then senior citizens, then people with comorbidities – would boost the overall fight against COVID-19.
Read him, lifting from what he told ANC’s Headstart: “If we believe that if the pandemic is a snake in the country, the head is in the NCR and the Calabarzon. So if you cut the head off –I’m sorry if you’re a snake-lover –we believe that will have an impact on the overall war against COVID.
“We’ll probably be able to open up at least the economy if we’re able to see the decline in these centers where majority of the cases are..
“If we do this, we might not achieve herd immunity, but we will achieve a situation of decline in cases and a possibility, a very good basis for opening up the economy.”
The Department of Health meanwhile said COVID-19 survivors should be inoculated after recovery, or completion of treatment, as vaccination guidelines have since been revised.
In its memorandum 2021-0175, the DOH said the agency revised an earlier circular which says that recovered COVID-19 cases must wait 90 days before getting vaccinated.
“All vaccine recipients who contracted COVID-19 may be vaccinated after recovery or completion of treatment, whether for first or second dose, without restarting the vaccine dose schedule,” the DOH latest memorandum stated.
Earlier, the Vaccine Expert Panel had recommended that COVID-19 survivors be allowed to get an inoculation two weeks instead of 90 days from recovery.
On the other hand, the Philippine Heart Association has urged people with hypertension or heart disease to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of April 12, the Philippines has vaccinated over a million individuals belonging to the top three priority groups – health workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities, the last one referring to the medical condition of two disorders or diseases coexisting at once.
At the same time, the DOH said persons vaccinated against other diseases should only get their COVID-19 vaccine 14 days after their latest inoculation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier said that the vaccine series should routinely be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccine.
Meanwhile, for COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac Biotech, the interval between the first and second dose is 28 days, while for AstraZeneca, the allowed interval is from four to 12 weeks, according to DOH.
We know there are some seniors who have taken the Sinovac jab – but others remain reluctant to get themselves on the line for their own reasons.
The country has so far administered a total of 1,139,644 COVID-19 vaccine doses as of April 11, according to Malacañang. Of this number, 1,007,356 were given as the first dose and 132,288 people were provided as the second dose.
As the week rolls on, we are told the Nayong Pilipino Foundation property in Parañaque City will be used as a vaccination site, the first big venue, to speed up the inoculation of Filipinos against COVID-19.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday, in an interview on Unang Hirit, that vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and the Department of Tourism have signed an agreement to utilize the area for the vaccination.
Vergeire said, aside from this, the government was working with the private sector for the possible use of other big venues as vaccination sites.
Galvez earlier said the government was planning to use stadiums and coliseums as “mega” vaccination sites to reach the targeted four million inoculated Filipinos per month.
Galvez said a mega vaccination site, which is one of the three types of vaccination facilities that the government will set up, can accommodate up to 10,000 persons a day.
So far, the government only has medium-sized vaccination sites that can accommodate 5,000 to 6,000 persons daily, he added.
Galvez said, to help in the fast-tracking the vaccination program, the government needs 55,000 vaccinators in 5,000 to 6,000 sites nationwide.
The third type is the mobile and rural vaccination site, which aims to vaccinate people in far-flung areas.
As of April 11, more than 1.1 million individuals have been vaccinated in the Philippines.
In related developments, the Commission on Human Rights wants the inclusion of persons deprived of liberty in the priority list for coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination.
“Given the limited supply of COVID-19 shots in the country, fair access to vaccines, including who should be first in line, requires the government to define priorities based on the level of vulnerability to the virus,” lawyer-spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said.
The CHR argues that PDLs must be equally considered to be a priority population given the multitude of vulnerabilities they face inside detention facilities.
“This is in consonance with the recommendation of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that governments have an obligation to provide vaccines for groups that are at high risk of contagion, such as incarcerated people,” De Guia said.