Government simplifies vaccination, banks on house-to-house jabs

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Government simplifies vaccination, banks on house-to-house jabs
Motorists queue for booster shot for COVID-19 during a drive-thru vaccination at Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Jan. 15, 2022.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — The government has simplified the COVID-19 vaccination process as it seeks to ramp up its inoculation efforts amid a sharp rise in pandemic infections.

Acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said those who want to get vaccinated do not need to register or secure a medical clearance before going to inoculation sites unless they are suffering from certain illnesses.

“The vaccination process has been simplified. Walk-ins are now allowed. There is no need for the monitoring of blood pressure as a form of health screening unless the vaccine recipient has a history of hypertension or has symptoms of hypertension and other considerations based on the clinical judgment of the doctor in the vaccination site,” Nograles said at a press briefing last Friday.

“You will no longer be asked to present a medical clearance and certification to get vaccinated. This requirement will only apply to those with autoimmune disease, HIV, cancer, malignancy, transplant patients or patients who undergo steroid treatment and patients with poor prognosis or bedridden patients,” he added.

Nograles urged the public not to think twice about availing of the pandemic jabs, noting that they provide protection against critical and severe cases of COVID-19.

“Get vaccinated and avail of booster shots. These simple things can help save us and our country from the situation we are facing right now,” the Palace official said.

“All vaccines are free, safe and effective. For your sake and for the sake of your loved ones, get vaccinated,” he added.

Meanwhile, the government is counting on house-to-house campaigns to vaccinate senior citizens and other persons vulnerable to COVID-19, especially those who are living outside the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus.

Nograles said local government units (LGUs) can conduct house visits and administer shots to senior citizens and persons with comorbidities who are having difficulty going to vaccination sites.

“One of the effective measures being implemented by LGUs is the house-to-house campaign, the house-to-house vaccination, because we target the senior citizens and the vulnerable, especially those in areas outside of NCR Plus,” Nograles told radio station dzBB yesterday.

NCR Plus is composed of Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna.

“It’s just really a matter of cooperating with the LGUs and the general public,” Nograles said.

“If they cannot travel or go to vaccination sites, we will just reach out to them,” he added.

Nograles also defended the government’s decision to prohibit unvaccinated persons from using public transportation in Metro Manila, a policy that some sectors claim constitutes discrimination.

“It is for the protection of the unvaccinated. You can see that 85 percent of those who are in the ICU (intensive care unit) are unvaccinated, and 73 percent of those who are in the hospital are unvaccinated. The data is clear. If you are unvaccinated, you have bigger chances of being hospitalized,” Nograle said.

“It is for the protection of those in the transport sector,” he added.

The Commission on Human Rights has expressed concern over the policy, saying it “effectively restricts the exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights.”

President Duterte has also ordered barangay officials to limit the movement of unvaccinated persons and to arrest those who will refuse to cooperate.

“So in the absence of a law, the President is called upon to act and because it is a national emergency, it is my position that we can restrain... I’m now giving orders to the barangay captains to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and just would request them or order them, if you may, to stay put,” the President said at a recent public address.

More than 54 million Filipinos or about 70 percent of the target population have been fully vaccinated as of Jan. 13, according to the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

The government aims to jab at least 90 million Filipinos before the end of June. It also seeks to provide 72.16 million boosters for the adult population and to administer booster shots to 12.74 million minors aged 12 to 17 this year.

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