PhilHealth ID not mandatory for Covid-19 vaccination — Galvez

VACCINE czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has clarified that a Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) identification number or PIN is not a mandatory requirement for persons who are expected to receive a jab against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Galvez, chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, said potential Covid-19 vaccine recipients may present any valid ID prior to vaccination.

He said that the PIN was just one of the unique identifiers needed to get the vaccine and not a requirement for vaccination.

“Puwede naman nilang gamitin iyong lahat ng mga puwedeng IDs po nila (They can use any of their valid IDs),” Galvez said during a virtual press briefing.

“Wala naman pong problema for as long as magkaroon tayo ng tinatawag na unang-unang prescreening and also iyong prelisting na at least maba-validate po na taga-doon po siya talaga; and then also iyong office ID po puwede po iyon (There will be no problem as long as there are a pre-screening and pre-listing that could validate that they are from the area. They can also use their office ID),” he added.

Some local government units (LGUs) have started the simultaneous vaccination of senior citizens (A2 priority) and persons with comorbidities (A3) along the frontline health workers (A1) to speed up the country’s vaccination program.

In doing so, LGUs have launched pre-registration and pre-screening processes to determine who among those wanting to get the vaccine are eligible in the priority list of the government.

Galvez said LGUs were currently conducting pre-registration and application so that vaccinees could undergo pre-screening and pre-listing.

He encouraged the public to get pre-screened or obtain early information from their respective LGUs so that vaccination could run smoothly.

The vaccine czar made the clarification after PhilHealth announced that their PIN was required for the pre-registration process.

PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran, in a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, retracted the statement and said that a PIN was only required if PhilHealth beneficiaries who got vaccinated were claiming benefits in case they experience adverse effects.

The Department of Health (DoH) also denied that a PIN was required before individuals can be vaccinated.

Under the DoH Memorandum Order 2021-0099, all potential vaccine recipients need to be registered using unique identifiers. One of them is the PhilHealth ID.

In case of the absence of government ID with picture, an individual may present any government document such as cedula, barangay certificate, and birth certificate.

More than 730,000 individuals, including health care workers and some senior citizens, have been vaccinated against Covid-19 since the Philippines kicked off its mass inoculation program on March 1.

Galvez said that there would be a “slight delay” in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to be supplied by the World Health Organization-led Covax facility to the Philippines due to “global logistics constraints” but assured the public that the government was doing everything it could to expedite the remaining Covax commitment.

The Philippines has been expecting the arrival of one million more doses from Covax facility this April, regardless of brand.

A total of 979,200 doses from AstraZeneca is scheduled to arrive in the Philippines in late March or early April.

On March 4, 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in the country, followed by another set of 38,400 doses on March 7 — a total of 525,600 doses from Covax.

The Philippines is slated to receive at least 5.6 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines from the Covax facility in the first quarter of the year.

The Philippines aims to inoculate 70 percent of the total population, or about 70 million Filipinos, before the end of the year.

This will supposedly trigger “herd immunity,” a form of indirect protection when a sufficient percentage of the population becomes immune to an infectious disease.