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Philippine health care workers not yet fully protected â WHO
WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said there is “still a need to prioritize and ensure full coverage of frontline health care workers.”
Michael Varcas, file

Philippine health care workers not yet fully protected – WHO

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - April 20, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino health care workers (HCWs) are not yet fully protected against COVID-19 as only 63 percent of them have been inoculated against the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday.

WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said there is “still a need to prioritize and ensure full coverage of frontline health care workers.”

“Right now, we are happy to note that the Philippines has provided vaccine to 1.25 million people. Of that, 63 percent are health care workers,” Abeyasinghe told a public briefing.

He, however, noted the country is “still short of protecting all HCWs.”

“The current surge demonstrates that we need to have HCWs fully protected so that they can care for the sick. We continue to emphasize that let’s work on a priority basis to protect frontline HCWs,” he added.

There are about 1.8 million HCWs in the country.

Ranks 3rd

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Myra Cabotaje said the Philippines ranks third among Southeast Asian countries on the number of doses of COVID vaccines administered at 1,456,793.

Citing reports of Bloomberg and Foreign Service Posts as of April 14, Cabotaje claimed that the country follows Indonesia, which topped the list at 15,811,449 doses and Singapore at 1,667,522 doses.

“We have a problem with supply, but even then we are able to administer many of the vaccines that we received,” she added.

Data showed that as of April 17, a total of 1,264,811 Filipinos have already received the first dose of the vaccine while 191,982 have completed two doses.

About 76 percent of the jabs were given to HCWs while 10 percent were for senior citizens and 14 percent for individuals with comorbidities.

Cabotaje said they have recorded 54,179 “deferals” due to various reasons such as the vaccine recipient was having symptoms or was pregnant.

Vaccines arriving

She said they are expecting Sinovac vaccines to arrive this month and in May, aside from the 500,000 doses already shipped to the country recently.

“Another one million doses are arriving, 500,000 on April 22 and another on April 29,” she said.

There are also “indications” that Pfizer vaccines will arrive by the end of April but “it (schedule) can always change,” Cabotaje said.

An initial 20,000 doses of Gamaleya Sputnik V vaccine are also expected to arrive this month and another 480,000 doses by the end of April.

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