DOH suggests non-announcement of vaccine brands in vaccination centers

Published May 19, 2021, 3:35 PM

by Analou de Vera

A health worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine shot at a vaccination center in Makati City on May 6, 2021 (ALI VICOY/ FILE PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The brand of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine that will be made available in vaccination centers should not be announced, the Department of Health (DOH) suggested on Wednesday, May 19.

DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje made the suggestion to avoid long queues of people due to vaccine brand preference.

“Maybe one of the strategies that can be made is hindi na ia-announce kung anong bakuna ang ibibigay. So kung gusto niyo magpabakuna, pumunta sa ganitong facility or vaccination sites. Tapos kung ano yung bakuna na available ayun yung dapat na kunin nila (Maybe one of the strategies that can be made is not to announce what vaccine brand will be given. So if you want to get vaccinated, go to the facility or vaccination sites. Then whatever vaccine brand is available, they should get it),” she said.

Recently, several people flocked to a certain mall in Paranaque City as the city started rolling out its Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.

“Ayaw na natin maulit yung one or two incidents na talagang nagdadagsaan (We don’t want a repeat of this kind of incidents). The local governments are already adjusting their schedules and adjusting their sites,” said Cabotaje.

“Everybody wanted to use Pfizer. Our general principle, kung anong bakuna ang available dapat kunin mo na. That will help the flow. Kunin mo yung bakuna kung anong available at that time that you are scheduled to go to the health center (Our general principle, whatever vaccine is available you should get it. That will help the flow. Get the vaccine that is available at that time that you are scheduled to go to the health center),” she added.

Cabotaje said that the “right to refusal” policy is only for healthcare workers because the Sinovac vaccine, the first available brand in the country, was not recommended for them initially—when the country was just starting its COVID-19 vaccination program.

“Other than that dapat wala nang right of refusal. Kung ano yung vaccine kunin mo, kapag hindi mo (ku)kunin (Whatever vaccine is available there, if you will not get it), then you go down the end of the line,” she said.

The Health official reminded the public that all COVID-19 vaccine brands currently available in the country are effective against the viral illness.

“Pare-pareho lang iyan ng proteksyon sa nabakunahan (All of them will give the same protection to those who are already vaccinated),” she said.