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Vaccine experts agree to scrap vital signs screening before vaccination

/ 03:33 PM May 14, 2021
Mass vaccination at the Makati Coliseum. Image from Facebook / MyMakati

Mass COVID-19 vaccination at the Makati Coliseum. Image from Facebook / MyMakati

MANILA, Philippines — The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) have approved the recommendation to scrap the screening for vital signs before the COVID-19 vaccination.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Friday that this approval of the recommendation from the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) and the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) will help decongest queues in vaccination sites and in turn speed up the pacing of inoculation.

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Vergeire also noted the current guidelines stating that individuals with blood pressure that is not 180/120 or higher can be vaccinated.

“‘Yun ang rekomendasyon at ito ay na-concur din, naaprubahan ng ating NITAG at TAG experts,” she said in an online press briefing.

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(That was their recommendation and experts from the NITAG and TAG have approved of it.)

“So we issued a policy regarding this matter that vital signs screening should not be included anymore as part of our processes, and that ang kailangan lang bantayan ng healthcare workers ay ‘yung mayroon na talagang established na hypertension at nakikita natin na meron silang organ damage,” she explained.

(So we issued a policy regarding this matter that vital signs screening should not be included anymore in our vaccination process, and that healthcare workers should only monitor those with established hypertension and organ damage.)

Vergeire said the DOH has likewise issued guidelines directing vaccination sites to set up a separate lane for those who need to be observed before getting the vaccine.

According to Vergeire, one of the reasons for the long queues are those who go to vaccination centers even if it is not yet their schedule to get inoculated.

In April, the PHA and the PSH said there is no need to take vital signs, such as blood pressure, respiratory rate, and heart rate, during screening “unless the vaccinee is in distress which warrants further evaluation.”

The two associations made this recommendation as they noted a “significant” number of vaccination deferrals and delay due to blood pressure elevations “that to date have not resulted in any serious nor life-threatening events established to be related to COVID-19 vaccines.”

The Department of Health later said it is studying the recommendation of the PHA and PSH.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, coronavirus vaccines, Department of Health, vaccination screening, vital signs
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