Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday, April 26, called for the inclusion of frontliners of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) as among the essential workers to be considered part of the A4 priority group for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination.
“PRC members should be considered as essential workers since they supervise professional board examinations. Once they are vaccinated, they could do their job in supervising our countrymen who take their examinations),” Go said in Filipino.
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go said that he recently discussed with vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III the concerns of PRC regarding the conduct of upcoming professional board exams amid the varying community quarantine restrictions imposed in different parts of the country.
“Our movements are limited to contain the spread of COVID-19. But we need to consider the needs of the profession of our countrymen who could lose their if the operation of PRC is delayed,” he said.
In March, a total of 52 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the PRC central and regional offices. One member of the Board of Medical Technology recently succumbed to the disease. This is one of the reasons of PRC for postponing the nursing licensure examinations from May 30 to 31 of this year to November 21 to 22 instead.
Due to the growing calls from nursing graduates for the earlier conduct of the exams, the PRC COVID-19 Task Force has recommended for the vaccination of the agency’s frontliners, personnel and members of Professional Regulatory Boards, volunteer proctors and watchers to be provided protection from the COVID-19 infection.
Go said he supports their appeal, noting the important role of the PRC in processing and evaluating professionals, particularly nursing graduates, to address the need of the country for more medical frontliners.
Since this year, the PRC has already conducted licensure examinations for medical technologists, sanitary engineers, veterinarians, social workers, geologists, physicians, respiratory therapists, and optometrists.
Meanwhile, Go also asked authorities to consider in the vaccination priority list the soon-to-be health professionals or pre-board nursing graduates who are scheduled to take their licensure exams this year — without prejudice to already identified priority sectors and depending on the scheduled availability of additional vaccine doses.
He cited the need to take immediate steps to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in the country amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our doctors, nurses and other health workers are overworked. There is really a need for added frontliners,” Go said.