MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. again reminded Filipinos to follow the priority ranking in the government’s new coronavirus vaccination program.
Their renewed call comes after non-frontliners, including five mayors and an actor, were able to receive the shots even if the government’s inoculation drive at this time was exclusively for healthcare workers, which are listed as A1 in the COVID-19 vaccine priority hierarchy.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the Department of Health (DOH) and NTF stressed that available COVID-19 vaccines should first go to healthcare workers given the limited supply.
“Recent reports of non-HCWs being inoculated have already been referred to the DILG. We once again emphasize that due to the limited number of vaccines, we should reserve these doses for our healthcare workers on whom we rely to maintain our most critical health services,” Duque said.
READ: 5 mayors issued show-cause orders for getting COVID-19 shot — DILG
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Galvez noted that the goal of the government is to vaccinate all Filipinos against COVID-19 and that healthcare workers are being prioritized since they are the most exposed and the most at risk of getting the potentially fatal respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
“We call on the public to follow our prioritization not just because it is set by WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization or by the guidelines of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, but more importantly because it is our moral obligation to allow our frontliners to be the first to receive the protection they need and deserve, especially amid this surge,” said Galvez.
Duque, for his part, pointed out that “healthcare workers are the ones who have sacrificed the most to protect all of us.”
“They deserve these vaccines the most and it is only right that we give our limited doses to them,” said Duque, who is a doctor by profession. “More vaccines will arrive, we are sure of that. We just have to wait for our turns to be vaccinated.”
“As we wait, I call on my fellow officials in the government—my fellow public servants—to follow the prioritization framework set by the government. Every person who jumps the line takes away a vaccine for a frontliner,” he explained.
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