DOH: Foreigners’ inclusion in Covid-19 vaccine program under review
MANILA, Philippines — The government will still have to study whether foreigners living in the country should also get Covid-19 vaccine shots, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
While the inclusion of foreigners in the list of beneficiaries for inoculation is still up for discussion, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said vaccinating foreigners in the country would also be beneficial to Filipinos.
“Kapag tiningnan natin sa isang rational point of view, since they are here and since they also interact with Filipino people, baka dapat kasama,” Vergeire said in an online press briefing.
(If we will look at it from a rational point of view, maybe they should also be included in the vaccination since they are here and they also interact with Filipino people.)
“Pero kailangan pa rin po natin pag-usapan kasi meron na po tayong pinalabas na listahan so kung saka-sakali po, baka sa rest of the population makasama. Ito po ay ipagbibigay alam natin ang consideration for NITAG (National Immunization Technical Advisory Group) to decide and to recommend,” she added.
(But we still have to discuss that because we have already released a list of priority groups. If ever, maybe they will be included in the rest of the population that will receive the vaccines. We will relay this to NITAG for consideration so they can decide and make the appropriate recommendation.)
According to Vergeire, it will be up to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to decide if the vaccines that would be provided to foreigners will be given for free.
“If it is going to be free, it is going to be the government to decide on that through the IATF. Pag-uusapan po iyan. Ito naman po ay isang bagay na sa tingin ko ay makakatulong sa atin kapag ginawa natin ito (We will discuss that. This is something that I think would be beneficial to us),” she said.
The Philippines is expected to receive the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines from the global vaccine sharing scheme Covax Facility by mid-February. The initial shipment would be 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which would be given to healthcare workers in select hospitals.
Malacañang earlier released the list of priority populations for the Covid-19 vaccination program, which includes frontline health workers, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, frontline personnel in essential sectors, indigent population, teachers and social workers, other government and essential workers, high-risk socio-demographic groups, overseas Filipino workers, other remaining workforce, and the rest of the Filipino population.
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