Press Release | 25 March 2021
Following reports of non-medical frontliners jumping the prioritization line and being vaccinated for COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) jointly reiterated the call to strictly follow the approved prioritization framework of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan and assured the public that the national government is exhausting all its efforts to secure enough vaccines to vaccinate all Filipinos.
The DOH and NTF further emphasized that given the limited supplies of vaccines, all currently available doses are allocated for, and should first be given to the medical frontliners/healthcare workers who have the highest exposure to COVID-19 and are most at risk of contracting the disease.
“Recent reports of non-HCWs being inoculated have already been referred to the DILG. We once again emphasize that due to the limited number of vaccines, we should reserve these doses for our healthcare workers on whom we rely to maintain our most critical health services,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.
The DOH and NTF also echoed the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that individuals verified to have skipped the line run the risk of incurring legal sanctions, and likewise warned officials and individuals against receiving vaccines ahead of their turn.
With the public’s apparent eagerness and demand for COVID-19 vaccines, the DOH and NTF assured that the vaccine cluster, together with the rest of the Pilippine Government, is relentless in its pursuit to secure enough vaccine doses in order to carry out the directive of the President to vaccinate all Filipinos.
“Do not worry. Our goal is still to ensure that everybody will be vaccinated. But while we do this, the government is prioritizing healthcare workers as they are the most exposed and the most at risk of getting COVID,” NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said. “We call on the public to follow our prioritization not just because it is set by WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) or by the guidelines of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), but more importantly because it is our moral obligation to allow our frontliners to be the first to receive the protection they need and deserve, especially amid this surge.” he added.
“We understand that we all want to receive the vaccines so we could hasten our recovery from the effects of this pandemic, but let us be reminded that our healthcare workers are the ones who have sacrificed the most to protect all of us. They deserve these vaccines the most and it is only right that we give our limited doses to them,” Sec. Duque remarked. “More vaccines will arrive, we are sure of that. We just have to wait for our turns to be vaccinated. As we wait, I call on my fellow officials in the government—my fellow public servants—to follow the prioritization framework set by the government. Every person who jumps the line takes away a vaccine for a frontliner.” Sec. Duque added.