Vital signs screening will no longer be required before COVID-19 vaccination, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, May 14.
The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has approved this recommendation made by the Philippine Society of Hypertension and the Philippine Heart Association, said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“So we issued a policy regarding this matter that vital signs screening should not be included anymore as part of our processes, and that ang kailangan lang bantayan ng healthcare workers ay yung mayroon na talagang established na hypertension at nakikita natin na meron silang organ damage (all healthcare workers only need to monitor those who have established hypertension or those with organ damage),” said Vergeire.
“Ang kailangan lang natin bantayan), especially for the blood pressure, would be yung BP na 180/120 or more. Pero yung iba kahit na tumataas yung presyon ay maari naman natin silang bakunahan (We need to monitor, especially for the blood pressure, would be the bp of 180/120 or more. But for others, even if the (blood) pressure increases, we can vaccinate them),” she added.
Vergeire said that this policy will help in addressing long queues in vaccination centers.
A separate lane must be established for those individuals who need close monitoring due to their medical history, said Vergeire.
“Hopefully, ipatupad na ng local governments natin para maibsan yung pagpila at paghaba ng pila at pag-aantay ng ating kababayan sa vaccination sites (Hopefully, the local governments will implement this policy to avoid long queues in vaccination sites),” she said.
Another reason for long queues is that some vaccine recipients are going to the vaccination sites even though it is not yet their schedule.
“Only those master listed should go to the vaccination site. Kaya lang ngayon sIyempre—- marami sa ating kababayan very eager sila na magpabakuna na, na kahit hindi sila yung (But of course —- many of our citizens are very eager to get vaccinated, that even if they are not) scheduled for that day, they go to the vaccination sites. So that’s one,” said Vergeire.
The health official also said that the confidence of Filipinos in COVID-19 vaccines have improved. This was based on the survey conducted by the DOH on March 19 to 30, she said.
Vergeire said that 75 percent of the respondents answered that they are willing to get vaccinated against the viral illness.
“Mataas na yung kumpiyansa ng ating mga kababayan sa pagbabakuna compared to the initial (survey) nung bago tayo nag umpisa, which was just at 60 percent (The confidence of our countrymen in vaccination is already high compared to the [result of the] initial [survey] before we started, which was just at 60 percent),” said Vergeire.
Meanwhile, 85 percent of the respondents believe that the vaccines are “safe and efficacious,” she said.
“Nakita natin yung talagang pagtaas ng kumpiyansa ng ating mga kababayan nung nakita nilang marami na pong nababakunahan lalong-lalo na nakita nila na maayos naman ang proseso ng gobyerno (We saw an increase in the confidence of our countrymen when they notice that many people were getting vaccinated, also when they saw that the government process is also going well),” she added.