The House of Representatives’ allocation of an additional P20 billion budget for the Department of Health for 2022 comes as a welcome development after health experts called on the public, especially parents, to help support our HCWs by protecting their families and loved ones through vaccination. The additional budget is said to be for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots, provision of special risk allowance for public and private health care workers as well as medical assistance to indigent patients.
According to Dr. Janette Garin, former Health Secretary and now Iloilo 1st District Representative, HCWs should be getting their COVID-19 booster shots and other vaccines against infectious diseases to better protect themselves.
“Our Healthcare workers are a struggling army. When the pandemic struck, a lot of them got sick and contracted the virus, a number of them died, and many struggled with their mental health. We have to help protect and empower our tireless and passionate frontliners in this fight against COVID-19,” said Garin. She added that healthcare workers have been protecting the public since the pandemic started and now, it’s our time to protect them. “Every parent that helps prevent infection or transmission contributes a lot in helping unburden our HCWs. Let’s all do our part.”, Garin quipped.
The former Health Secretary also reminded parents to have their families vaccinated against pneumonia and it is also very important to get the annual flu shot. “Getting the COVID vaccine is good but adding the flu and pneumococcal vaccine is the way to go. It gives you and your family triple protection and greatly helps in reducing deaths, hospitalization, and severity of illness–making a big difference to our frontliners.” Garin also called on our healthcare workers to protect themselves with the said vaccines. She said that flu and pneumococcal vaccines are crucial for doctors and nurses since they are the backbone of our country’s pandemic response and their health is a top priority. Under the Frontline Health Workers Welfare Act of 2020 filed by Garin, HCWs can enjoy free annual influenza and pneumococcal vaccines. This can also be extended for qualified dependents of frontline workers.