Frontliners on Monday appealed to the public to respect the government's priority line for COVID-19 vaccines that puts medical workers ahead, saying it was necessary to beat the pandemic.
The Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAC) issued the statement as the private sector scrambled to secure their own vaccine supplies. They are the same group that called for a timeout in August last year due to a surge in infections.
"Wag na tayo makipag unahan, alagaan natin yung talagang nangangailangan kasi kung hindi ho natin aalagaan, tayo rin ang affected. We will not reach our objective: many will continue to die, our health system will be overwhelmed again, and this pandemic can go on longer and we will continue to suffer the economic consequences," said Dr. Antonio Dans, HPAC member and a key expert behind the Philippines’ Universal Health Care Law.
Global supply of vaccines is scarce, with rich countries cornering some 75% of the 2021 stockpile, he said.
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"Hindi naman natin sinasabing hindi sila babakunahan. Ang sinasabi lang, hindi pa ngayon dahil konti pa ang supply," said Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, another public health expert.
Last week the World Health Organization appealed to the United Kingdom, the first nation in the world to innoculate their population against COVID, to share their vaccine supply with poor countries.
"Ito po ay panahon ng pagpaparaya. Kung tayo po ay hindi health care worker na nag aalaga ng may COVID, less then 65 yrs old, wala po tayong ibang karamdaman, hindi tayo high blood, diabetic o anuman. Siguro po, isipin natin, may mas meron pong makikinabang sa bakuna kesa sa atin," said Dr. Aileen Espina, noting that if they weren't frontliner themselves, they would let others come first.
They asked the public to keep wary about vaccines being sold in the "black market", warning about safety and the lack of accountability among these suppliers.
According to them, there are three things to remember when getting vaccinated:
- Make sure it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use;
- It is recommended ng Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC);
- Distribution was done through the Department of Health so they can be assured that it was taken into account in the cold chain and logistics, as well as to ensure accountability.
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