NATIONAL KIDNEY AND TRANSPLANT INSTITUTE, QUEZON CITY (17 NOVEMBER 2021)— The government has begun the administration of COVID-19 booster shots to healthcare workers, as it hopes to finish vaccinating all doctors, nurses and other medical frontliners by the end of November.
According to Health Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Chair Francisco Duque III, protecting the country’s medical frontliners will ensure the stability of the country’s healthcare system.
“Sila po (medical frontliners) ang humaharap sa napakamataas na banta o risk of exposure to COVID, dahil po sa kanilang tungkuling ginagampanan bilang manggagawang pangkalusugan sa buong bayan,” Duque said during a ceremonial vaccination held here on Wednesday.
“Tuluy-tuloy na po ito sa lahat ng ating mga ospital at mga healthcare facilities, ang lahat po ng ating 1.6 to 1.7 million na healthcare workers ay sa wakas mabibigyan na natin ng kanilang booster dose,” he added.
For Dr. Rose Marie Rosete-Liquete, the Executive Director of the NKTI, the government’s rollout of booster shots was an answered prayer for their personnel, given the high-risk nature of their job.
“May ginawa po kaming pag-aaral na marami po pala sa aming health workers ay madaling bumaba ang kanilang antibodies after the first and second shot,” Liquete said.
“Matagal na pong inaasam-asam ng ating mga kawani sa ospital na ito na sila ay mabigyan ng booster shot,” she added.
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For his part, Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., vaccine czar and National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer, acknowledged the immense contribution of healthcare workers in safeguarding the lives of Filipinos during the pandemic.
“Ngayon na sapat na ang suplay ng ating bakuna para sa lahat ng Pilipino, ay nararapat lamang na mabigyan kayo (healthcare workers) ng karagdagang proteksyon laban sa sakit,” Galvez said.
“Sabay-sabay po nating ipagdiwang ang Pasko at salubungin ang bagong taon na may mas malakas at ligtas na pangangatawan,” he added.
The vaccine said that with the scaled-up vaccination pace, and with the help of hospitals and other medical facilities, the government could finish the administration of booster shots to healthcare workers before December.
“Sa ngayon, meron tayong one million a day na jabs. Palagay ko, kung talagang i-rerequire natin lahat ng mga ospital na matapos, kaya nating tapusin within two weeks or even (by the) end of the month,” Galvez said.
“Nakikita natin na tumataas na (ang cases) sa area ng Europe, and we wanted that by the time na magkaroon tayo ng tinatawag nating pagtaas dito, dapat tapos na ‘yung (booster shots ng) mga healthcare workers,” he added.
Galvez noted that administering booster shots to the immunocompromised population could begin as early as next week.
“Tinatapos lang natin ang guidelines para sa seniors and (persons with) co-morbidities, kasi iba ang protocol ng handling ng boosters sa healthcare workers doon sa mga tinatawag nating immunocompromised,” Galvez said.
“Earliest is next week, ang latest is isasama na natin siya sa national vaccination day,” the said.
As of November 16, a total of 71,680,132 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, bringing the total number of fully vaccinated individuals to 32,212,344.
The government aims to inoculate 54 million Filipinos with at least one dose by the end of November, and completely vaccinating them before year end.
To date, the Philippines has received a total of 128,444,400 COVID-19 vaccine doses from various vaccine manufacturers since February. END