Vaccination of healthy population to start next quarter — Galvez

Published February 28, 2021, 8:02 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Filipinos who are not in the priority list of the national government will likely receive their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine shots in the second quarter of 2021.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said the government will stick to its priority list, which means that medical frontliners will be the first ones to be inoculated with the vaccines in the country.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“It [vaccination of healthy population] will probably happen in second quarter. We will prioritize the preservation of our health institutions in the first quarter,” Galvez said after he witnessed the arrival of 600,000 vaccine doses from Sinovac Biotech Ltd. on Sunday, Feb. 28. The Sinovac jabs were donations from the Chinese government.

“After that, we will vaccinate [personnel] from government institutions who are providing essential services and other frontline workers including the economic frontliners,” he added.

Medical frontliners are on top of the priority list of the national government as to who will be given the COVID-19 vaccines. They are followed by senior citizens, people with comorbidities, and other frontliners such as uniformed personnel.

Galvez urged the public to participate in the mass vaccination so the government can achieve herd immunity by inoculating 70 million Filipinos.

“The vaccines are our best defense along with the practice of the minimum health standard,” he said.

The vaccine czar reiterated that the government cannot afford to be picky on what vaccine brand to give to Filipinos since there is a shortage in supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

“I call on the public to get whatever vaccine that we can offer. These vaccines are approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] because they are safe and effective,” he said.

“Let us not wait for other vaccines because it will be hard for us. The active cases are rising. Whatever brand we have, let’s take it,” he added.