MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Monday cited the need for an international agreement that would set the standards for authenticating COVID-19 vaccine certificates after some sectors criticized the protocols for arriving individuals who got vaccinated in the Philippines.
Roque said the Philippine government’s decision to require travelers who have been inoculated in the Philippines to undergo a seven-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival has stirred controversy.
Foreign nationals, overseas Filipino workers and Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated abroad are not covered by the policy. However, they should still undergo the usual testing protocols and complete a ten-day facility-based quarantine.
“Many criticized (the decision) last weekend. Their request is to do away with the quarantine for returning Filipinos especially those who are taking their vacation,” Roque said during the ceremonial vaccination of economic frontliners at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay.
“The problem is we do not have yet an international agreement on how to verify the authenticity of the vaccination card…Perhaps we need to have an international agreement on the standard vaccination certificate so there would be no problems on authenticating, on determining whether the vaccination card is authentic or fake,” he added.
Roque said the Philippines has just started the vaccination of workers in essential sectors so Filipinos can wait for an international agreement on vaccine cards.
“If we were able to wait for the arrival of vaccines for one year, perhaps we can also wait for a short period of time for the entire world to have an agreement on what to do with people who have been vaccinated,” the Palace spokesman said.
“For the A4, the good news is whatever agreement is forged by countries worldwide, and we are now vaccinated, we now have a protection against severe illness, against COVID and we have a protection against death due to COVID and we can go back to work because of the vaccines,” he added.
The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.
Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)
The government marks the rollout of vaccines for the A4, or economic frontliners, category with a ceremony at a mall in Pasay City.
Around 35 million Filipinos are in the priority group, which has been expanded to include all who are required to physically report to work.
Pandemic restrictions have seen some Filipinos shift to remote work or work-from-home arrangements but many employees, especially those in the service sector, do not have that option.
Vice President Leni Robredo has been vaccinated against COVID-19 at a vaccination center in Quezon City.
Robredo, who received her first dose of the AstraZeneca jab, is in the A3 ( people with comorbidities) category.
The Department of Health announces the resumption of the use of AstraZeneca jab for all eligible population following the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration and the DOH All Experts Group on Vaccines.
The health department urges the public to get their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
“The benefits of additional protection against COVID-19 could only be achieved by completing both doses of the vaccine,” the DOH says in a statement.
The regional health minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said there is no basis for insinuations that COVID-19 vaccines are forbidden in Islam.
Medical workers from the Integrated Provincial Health Office-Maguindanao gave Bangsamoro Health Minister Bashary Latiph a Sinovac anti-coronavirus jab Thursday.
Latiph reiterated his appeal to residents in all cities and provinces in BARMM to ignore fallacies and assertions on Facebook by skeptics and pessimists who are not even medical practitioners that vaccines can do more harm than good.
“Listen only to BARMM’s Health Ministry, to the Department of Health and to health workers in provinces and in cities in the Bangsamoro region,” Latiph told reporters after he got an anti-COVID-19 shot. — The STAR/John Unson
The Philippines approves the application of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
Food and Drug Administration Director general Eric Domingo says it only took nine days to review the emergency use authority application.
“The known and potential benefits of Moderna, when used to prevent COVID-19, outweigh the known and potential risks of the said vaccine,” Domingo says during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.
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