Vaccination interval of AstraZeneca shortened amid 'no vax, no ride' implementation

The interval of the first and second dose for AstraZeneca vaccine was shortened amid concerns raised by those inoculated by the Europe-made vaccine over the implementation of the no vaccination, no ride policy, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

In a message on Saturday, Jan 29, DILG spokesman and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya confirmed that the second dose of AstraZeneca may now be administered “as early as 28 days after the first dose.’’

“So problem solved na ang concern ng AZ (with the concern about AZ),’’ Malaya said.

In the Dec. 9, 2021 advisory on the AstraZeneca guidelines sent by Malaya, the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) noted that the Department of Health (DOH) allows the administration of the second dose four weeks to 12 weeks from the date of the first dose.

With this development, persons who got the AstraZeneca jabs recently may be administered with the second injections within the Jan. 26 to Feb. 25 time frame under the 30-day window given to the public for them to be allowed to use public transport.

On Jan. 27, the government imposed the “no vax, no ride’’ policy from Jan 26 to Feb. 25 raising deep concern to those injected with AstraZenica only recently as they initially have to wait for more than a month to get the second shot.

The rationale of the “no vax, no ride’’ directive as previously mentioned by Malaya was from the very beginning has been to protect the unvaccinated and to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed by the influx of COVID-19 cases.

“I think this is one point that a lot of people missed that we are actually protecting those unvaccinated because the people who refuse to be vaccinated up to now are at great risk of critical illness, hospitalization and even death and the data from the hospitals, the ICU (intesive care unit) admissions will prove that the vast majority of those who died and have critical illness are the unvaccinated,’’ Malaya emphasized.

The DILG spokesperson added “the urgency to emphasize this (to be vaccinated) and we cannot emphasize this enough that we are actually protecting the unvaccinated.’’

The “no vax, no ride’’ policy will be deescalated ones the area is placed under Alert level 2.

With critics insisting that the inventory of the unvaccinated individuals is unlawful, Malaya lamented that “we (DILG) have already issued that order to the various LGUs and the barangays are given a month to submit a list of the unvaccinated individuals to be used as their reference and guidance in determining who are unvaccinated in their area.

Further, Malaya said that the rationale for this is “how can they (barangays) enforce the stay at home policy for the unvaccinated if they do not know who those individuals are and number two it is also a guide to the LGUs and to the barangays for them to know who those people they need to convince to be vaccinated.’’ (Chito A. Chavez)