Two batches of COVID-19 vaccines already arrived in the Philippines. The latest batch, AstraZeneca, arrived on March 5, 2021 (see story from CNN in the video, below). According to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. a total of 161 million vials of various brands of coronavirus vaccines will arrive in 2021. Around 20 million doses are secured for the second quarter, 68 million for the third quarter, and around 69 million for the fourth quarter. The President has declared that the rollout of the vaccination program is a requirement before the lockdown protocols may be relaxed some more.
The arrival of the vaccines is part of the national covid-19 vaccination program, which is covered by a new law, Republic Act No. 11525, also known as the “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021“. For vaccine supplies procured by the national government, the order of priority are as follows:
- healthcare workers
- senior citizens
- persons with comorbidities
- frontline personnel in essential services, including uniformed personnel and teachers
- indigent population
Private entities, including resorts, airlines and other travel-related establishments, may have their own vaccination programs in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF). Only vaccines accredited by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be used in any vaccination program, whether public or private.
An interesting part of the vaccination program is the vaccine passport. To attract tourists, other countries have expressed interest in having the “vaccine passport”, which is proof of vaccination of incoming guests. Under the covid-19 vaccine program of the Philippines, the DOH is tasked to issue a vaccine card to ALL persons vaccinated, subject to the provisions of the Data Privacy Act. The DOH is required to maintain a central database of vaccinations and mandate a uniform format for the vaccine card. The issuance of a vaccine card is intended to be digital. We’re waiting for the implementing rules and regulations for the vaccine card.