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House-to-house shots for seniors ‘possible’

Francisco Duque III
Health Secretary Franciso Duque III

HOUSE-to-house vaccination for vulnerable and high risk sector like senior citizens is very likely, the Department of Health said.

Appearing before a committee hearing, Health Secretary Franciso Duque III said that it is possible for the government to allow house-to-house vaccination for seniors once the distribution starts.

For his part, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine supplies from different pharmaceutical companies will start to arrive in February this year until July.

Both Duque and Galvez were present during the hearing initiated by House Committee on Health on the vaccination program and preparedness of the government

Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrelita Suansing asked Duque whether the government allows house-to house inoculation for those old people that cannot go to vaccination sites due to health protocols.

Duque responded affirmatively saying this is already part of the vaccination program of the administration.

“Iyong house-to-house, posibleng gagawin natin, kasama sa pagpaplano doon sa mga very very vulnerable at high risk senior citizens,” he told members of the panel chaired by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan.

However, Duque pointed out that this plan is “more of an exception rather than the rule.”

“Kinakailangan ding bantayan yung post-immunization surveillance, monitoring and recording of adverse events following immunization,” he added.

According to Galvez, the government is targeting at least 50 million to 70 million Filipinos to be given COVID-19 vaccines.

The government has already identified at least 4,512 fixed COVID-19 vaccination points nationwide, which most likely will be the same setup of election poll sites and that existing medical centers rural health facilities will be utilized.

Each site will have three vaccination teams. Each team will have to administer the vaccine to 100 people per day.

Those to be vaccinated will have to register, receive pre-vaccincation education and counseling and undergo screening and medical history review before being inoculated.

For her part, Tan said that the briefing comes in light of the need to expedite the COVID-19 immunization program as well as ensure that it is safe and effective and that all agencies concerned are on the same page.

“We cannot afford to make mistakes at this critical juncture in our fight against the pandemic. We have to be on time for the COVID-19 inoculation drive. We need the vaccine rollout to be ready without compromising its safety and efficacy in order to build the trust and confidence of the public”, Tan said.

She also underscored that the safety, health, and well-being of the Filipinos will be the primordial concern of the Committee on Health.

Galvez, areas with a high COVID-19 cases such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Davao will be given priority for the vaccination rollout where 24,668,128 sectoral priorities have been selected as follows: 1,762,994 frontline health workers; 3,789,874 indigent senior citizens; 5,678,544 remaining senior citizens; 12,911,193 remaining indigent population; and 525,523 uniformed personnel, which accounts for more than 22 percent of the country’s projected population of 108.8 million, as of the third quarter this year.