On March 4, 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) through its representative Dr. Laila Celino briefed the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board – National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) on COVID-19 vaccine as well as their current health interventions and programs during the pandemic. 

Dr. Celino, Head of Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Cluster and concurrent Head of Health Promotion and Media Relations Unit – NCR discussed the importance of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and presented among others, the priority recipients, timelines and its possible effects. 

With the initial limited supply of vaccines for COVID-19, the DOH representative said that the frontline health workers and uniformed personnel are prioritized as they have higher risk of exposure while on duty. Likewise, vulnerable groups such as the elderly and the indigent population are also in the list of priority as guided by the principle of equity.

DOH also emphasized that all COVID-19 vaccines granted with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are considered safe and effective. Until a full market authorization is issued by the FDA, Dr. Celino reminded that the government is the only authorized body at present to procure and administer vaccines.  She further clarified that the Philippine government will shoulder the cost of vaccines for priority groups.

Given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 transmission, the health department also said people who were immunized must continue to observe health protocols to protect others.

END / Kim Lagcao