Expert backs integration of Covid-19 vaccination into routine immunization program

An infectious disease expert expressed support on Tuesday, July 4, to the proposed move of the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) to include Covid-19 vaccination in the regular immunization program.


Dr. Edsel Salvana said during the Laging Handa public briefing this should be done since Covid-19 most likely will not disappear and become endemic. He added that this is to continue the protection it provides to the public, stressing the need to incorporate Covid-19 vaccines to the needed vaccines since it continues to protect against severe disease and decreases the risk of severe disease and dying by over 90 percent.

To better do this, Salvana said that drug companies should apply a so-called Certificate of Product Registration (CPR). He said that in the United States, a lot of vaccines have received a CPR including Pfizer at ang Moderna.

Through the CPR, he mentioned that these companies can market the vaccines to the general public; no longer needing to go through the government.

"At dahil may CPR na siya sa Estados Unidos na itinuturing naman na advanced na bansa, there’s really no reason why hindi siya makakakuha dito sa Pilipinas dahil, iyon nga, mabusisi naman ang ginagawa nila doon (Since these companies have a CPR in the US, which is considered an advanced country, there’s really no reason why they will not get one in the Philippines since they conducted a thorough analysis there)," Salvana explained.

"So I think makakatulong talaga kapag iyong mga kampaniya (it will help if the company) – of course, that’s their initiative, that’s their prerogative – kung mag-apply na sila ng CPR para at least hindi lang sa gobyerno kailangan kunin iyong bakuna. Puwede nang kunin ng mga magulang sa kanilang pediatrician. Puwede nang kunin ng mga adults sa kanilang mga internists (if they will apply for a CPR so the vaccines can be procured not just from the government. It can be obtained from their pediatrician. Adults may get it from their internists)," he added.

Salvana said that once there is a CPR, it is no longer called an Emergency Use Authority (EUA) - doctors will be allowed to put Covid-19 vaccines in their clinics. This also includes updated vaccines which the US-Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated.

These updated vaccines, he said, like those for flu, can easily be disseminated through the CPR. The public will no longer depend on Local Government Units (LGUs) for vaccines, since the private sector will also share the burden.

"Mas mamo-motivate rin iyong mga tao na magpabakuna dahil, iyon nga, kilala nila iyong mga doktor nila, mas kampante sila doon sa doktor na nagha-handle sa health nila for a long time (People will also be more motivated to get vaccinated since they know their doctors, they are more confident with the doctor who has been handling them for a long time)," he added.