Vaccine priority for PRC frontliners pushed

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Vaccine priority for PRC frontliners pushed
A staff member inoculates a colleague with a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Baruipur sub-divisional hospital on the outskirts of Kolkata, India on January 18, 2021.
AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar

MANILA, Philippines — To address the need for more health professionals, Sen. Bong Go is pushing the inclusion of Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) examiners in the government’s vaccine priority list.

PRC frontliners for the upcoming professional board exams include proctors and watchers who should be considered part of the essential sectors in the A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination to avoid delays in the administration of the examinations, he said.

As chairman of the Senate committee on health and demography, Go believes this will help ease the need for more health professionals in the country.

He said he discussed the issue with vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Last month, the PRC central and regional offices had 52 confirmed COVID-19 cases. One member of the Board of Medical Technology recently succumbed to the disease, which was cited among the reasons for the postponement of the nursing licensure examinations this May to Nov. 21 to 22 this year.

But due to the growing calls from nursing graduates for an earlier exams date, the PRC COVID-19 Task Force recommended that its frontliners –personnel and members of Professional Regulatory Boards, volunteer proctors and watchers – be first provided with protection from the virus.

Go supports their appeal, noting PRC’s role in processing and evaluating professionals, particularly nursing graduates, in order to address the need of the country for more medical frontliners.

“If we can vaccinate them, the board exams can be held earlier. The board passers can be added to the number of our health care professionals,” he said in Filipino.

The PRC has already conducted licensure examinations this year for medical technologists, sanitary engineers, veterinarians, social workers, geologists, physicians, respiratory therapists and optometrists. Aside from the frontliners, Go also asked authorities to consider in the vaccination priority list the soon-to-be health professionals or pre-board nursing graduates who are scheduled to take their licensure exams this year.

He said this would also help address the shortage of health care professionals in the country amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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