Why PNP Vaccination Plan is called ‘Caduceus’

Published February 10, 2021, 6:10 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has finalized its strategic vaccination plan for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the government is expected to initiate the rollout of the vaccination program starting this month.


Dubbed as the PNP Vaccination Plan “Caduceus”, the security plan covers the receipt of vaccine shipment to the vaccination in far-flung areas for the people included in the priority list not only for the scheduled inoculation probably this month or the other batches of COVID vaccines that were ordered by the government.

PNP chief Gen. Debold M. Sinas said the PNP Vaccination Plan ‘Caduceus’ sets forth the security and public safety guidelines and procedures to be undertaken by the PNP in support to the Philippine National COVID-19 Deployment and Vaccination Plan, as a member of the Task Group (TG) Vaccine Cold Chain and Logistics Management, Task Group Immunization Program, and Task Group Demand Generation and Communication.

Under the Plan, Police Regional Offices are tasked to provide security assistance in the transport of vaccine shipments from storage hubs to vaccination centers. Police Regional Offices are also tasked to establish Police Assistance Desks in vaccination centers to preclude criminal elements and threat groups from talking advantage.

Sinas said that police medical frontliners will be fielded to assist the Department of Heath, Local Government Unit (LGU) health workers in administering COVID-19 vaccines in designated vaccination centers.

“We designated a Medical Reserve Force on top of the regular PNP Medical and Nurse Corps. These are police personnel with formal medical-related training, but are presently assigned to PNP operating and line units performing regular police work,” said Sinas.

Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne R. Binag is designated  as overall supervisor in the implementation of  ‘Caduceus’, being the concurrent Commander of National Task Force Covid Shield, the implementing arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force in Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Why Caduceus?

Caduceus is the staff carried by Hermes, a god in the Greek mythology who is considered as the messenger of other gods. In Roman mythology, Hermes is equivalent to Mercury.

The short staff is entwined by two serpents with two wings on top. The two wings symbolizes the swiftness of the travel while the serpents symbolizes rejuvenation since snakes are known to shed skins. However, there are other theories regarding the symbols of medicine.

Caduceus is now known to be a modern symbol of medicine.

Rod of Asclepius

Experts, however, disputes the use of caduceus as the true symbol of medicine.

In the study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research entitled Medical Symbols in Practice: Myths vs Reality, authors Anil Shetty, Shraddha Shetty and Oliver Dsouza said that the true symbol of healing is the Rod of Asclepius.

Asclepius is the Greek god of healing. Instead of two entwined serpents, the Rod of Asclepius is a single serpent entwined rod.