CHR urges gov't to revisit COVID-19 vaccination protocols

CHR urges gov't to revisit COVID-19 vaccination protocols
Individuals rest on flattened boxes as they wait in line to be inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine at the Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo, Manila on the midnight of Aug. 5, 2021, a day before Metro Manila is placed under enhanced community quarantine.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights called on the government to revisit its vaccination protocols after large crowds of people lined up for COVID-19 jabs in different inoculation sites in Metro Manila.

In a statement Thursday, the CHR stressed the importance of “well-designed and scientifically-informed vaccination distribution plans to ensure strict implementation of health and safety protocols on the ground.”

“This entails revisiting the whole system from vaccine registration up until the day of receiving the vaccines to avoid overcrowding and long queues in vaccination centers,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said.

The commission issued the statement after thousands of people flocked to various vaccination centers in the capital region a day before it returns to enhanced community quarantine. It feared that long lines can lead to more COVID-19 infections and become superspreader events in the face of a more transmissible Delta variant.

Driven by ‘fake news’

Government officials said the long queues were driven by false information that the unvaccinated will not be able to receive aid from the government. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority urged the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the source of rumors and hold them responsible.

In a statement, the Department of Health asked the public not to believe posts stating that those who have not been inoculated will not receive government assistance. It also stressed that the “no vaccine, no work” policy is not allowed.

“Any employee who chooses not to get vaccinated or fails to get vaccinated shall not be discriminated against in terms of employment,” it said.

CHR called on local government units to implement strong information dissemination campaigns.

“Simple, accurate, and direct to the point communication is vital to quell misleading information that creates unnecessary panic and confusion among people, particularly among unvaccinated individuals,” it said.

Vulnerable population

The commission urged the government to look into the plight of the indigent populations who also need to be vaccinated but have limited to no access to online registration processes.

It added that local governments need to remove barriers and prioritize vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and those with comorbidities.

At least 10 million individuals have completed vaccination against COVID-19, Malacañang said Thursday. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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