Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon last week voiced concerns over apparent lack of capability in DOH personnel in conducting vaccination programs, as there are only 617,000 healthcare workers presently involved in the immunization campaign.
He also doubted the health department’s utilization of contact tracers, barangay health workers and social workers in vaccine distribution.
“Social workers, aren’t they the ones providing psychosocial support, yet you will use them for vaccination?” he pointed out.
“I seriously doubt if these 617,239 can vaccinate 70 million Filipinos although, of course, these will not be done simultaneously,” Gordon said in a Senate hearing last Friday. “As we all know, we have a very low vaccination rate.”
In light of this, he said that the government should provide health workers with a training program in the delivery of vaccines to 70 million Filipinos in the span of two years, along with the mass inoculation program which begins next month.
“I will file a bill on Monday that during times of emergency or even [when] there is no crisis, we should train vaccinators like the dentists, veterinarians, medical technologists [and others] with medical background,” he announced.
Among healthcare workers, data from surveys of the DOH and Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) conducted on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 last year, revealed 63.29% of 1,245 healthcare personnel wanted the shot, while 8.27% were “unlikely to be vaccinated.”
Their apprehensions lay as to whether these vaccines were untested as well as potential side effects, both known and unknown.
Despite the encouraging survey results, University of the Philippines Manila Professor Nina Castillo-Carandang said that there was still a long way to go to lessen vaccine hesitancy in the country.
Because of the government’s evident bias towards Chinese pharma firm Sinovac’s Covid19 vaccine candidate, the public requires “full transparency” and no “excuses and half-truths”, according to Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque earlier declared that Filipinos should not be “choosy” when it came to the vaccination plan. He also described as “colonial mentality” those who preferred Pfizer’s vaccine, which has an efficacy rate of 95%.