Health workers who passed on CoronaVac still on priority list for AstraZeneca vaccines

Malacañang assured that health workers who passed on CoronaVac to wait for AstraZeneca will get the British-Swedish brand, reiterating that they will not lose their priority just for rejecting a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement ahead of the delivery of 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility to the Philippines on March 4.

In his press briefing, Roque assured health workers that they are still the priority of the government in its vaccination program.

"I suppose they will follow the same protocol," he said Thursday.

"Priority ay roon ulit sa mga (The priority are still those from the various) COVID referral centers, DOH (Department of Health) hospitals, and other public and private hospitals," he added.

However, Roque said that even with the arrival of AstraZeneca vaccines and the approval of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), the rollout of the British-Swedish shots will not start immediately.

"Hindi pa po. Kasi pag may recommendation na ang NITAG, ia-approve pa po ng IATF (It won't start yes because the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will still have to approve the recommendation of the NITAG)," he said.

Meanwhile, in a separate virtual presser on Thursday morning, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government will wait for the decision of NITAG if the AstraZeneca vaccines can be used on senior citizens.

"There have been discussions about the possibility of using AstraZeneca vaccine to frontline healthcare workers aged 60 and above," he said. "We will refer this to the NITAG and hopefully we get their recommendations soon," he added.

The Philippines has rolled out its vaccination program against COVID-19 this week with 600,000 doses of CoronaVac donated by the Chinese government.

CoronaVac, created by Chinese drugmaker Sinovac was not recommended, however, to be used on senior citizens.