Solons Push for Dentists, Medical Techs as Covid-19 Vaccinators

Photo by Mufid Majnun

Several lawmakers on Tuesday filed a measure seeking to add dentists and medical technologists as vaccinators to help in the inoculation and effective and efficient rollout of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines in the country. 

House Committee on Health chair Angelina Tan, along with Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo and Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte, filed House Bill 9354 which seeks to amend Republic Act (RA) 11525 or the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021. 

Aside from doctors and medical professionals, RA No. 11525 only allows duly trained pharmacists and midwives to administer doses of Covid-19 vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Tan said the addition of dentists and medical technologists as vaccinators will contribute to the expansion of the vaccination program of the nation as more can administer jabs to Filipinos. 

“With the arrival of more vaccines in the country, the swift rollout of the vaccine is needed for the efficient administration and prevention of possible expiration of the doses,” Tan said in the bill’s explanatory note. 

Citing government data, Tan said a total of 2,282,273 Filipinos have already been vaccinated as of 16 May 2021. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 70 percent of the population must be inoculated to achieve herd immunity. 

Tan said this is equivalent to approximately more than 70 million Filipinos.

PH vaccination program exceeds 3 million

At the Palace press briefing on Tuesday, National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said that 3,114,847 doses have been administered nationwide since March 1.

On May 15, the Philippines recorded the highest one-day utilization of 120,529 doses.

Another 500,000 doses of Sinovac jabs are also arriving on Thursday.

The government’s stockpile will reach 7,753,450 doses this month and 10,050,000 next month.

“So far, we are holding grand preparation to achieve herd immunity through the focus and expand strategy at the centers of gravity,” Galvez said in Filipino.

The government is focusing on the immunization of residents of the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Pampanga, and Batangas, as well as from Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.

The inoculation of priority groups under categories A4 (government and other front-lines) and A5 (indigent) may begin in June once a steady supply is available.

“We will announce next week, just in case we will start vaccinating A4 and A5,” he said.

Vaccines from the COVAX facility will be used for the A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (elderly), A3 (persons with comorbidities), and A5 groups.

Government-procured vaccines will be for A1 to A4.

Maintain safety protocols

NTF Deputy Chief Implementer and testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon also appealed to the public to continue adhering to minimum health standards while the nationwide vaccination program is ongoing.

Dizon said the Department of Health will issue guidelines for the A4 and A5 vaccination in the coming days.

Everyone who wishes to avail of Covid-19 jabs are urged to register for the Covid-19 vaccination program.

“We will make it (registration) easier and more simplified so we can fast-track the vaccination program,” said Dizon.

Further, Galvez noted that while the production of various vaccine makers is increasing, the delivery of Covid-19 jabs in the country is getting stable.

“So far, the delivery of COVAX facility is currently stable and our other procured vaccines are coming in,” he said, noting that the delivery volume of Covid-19 vaccines will increase next month.

“Between March and April, the vaccines came in trickles but now the vaccines are being delivered in millions,” he said.

Next deliveries

The COVAX facility will deliver 2.2 million of Pfizer-BioNTech and two million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines between May and June, according to Galvez.

“We are glad that we are seeing a quite stable delivery of vaccines,” he said.

Galvez also noted that there is a significant increase in the vaccination capacity of local government units.

“So far, we have recorded more than 120,000 jabs a day. It is very promising,” he added.

The NTF is divided into three mandates operating through response cluster, vaccine cluster, and recovery cluster. 

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