On March 1, the Philippines began its official COVID-19 vaccination campaign, which aims to inoculate at least 50 million Filipinos.
The 2021 vaccine deployment plan was launched with the distribution of 600,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine on February 28.
The immunization drive, however, has been marred by illegal vaccinations of people close to President Rodrigo Duterte. On February 23, a week before its launch, Duterte's former special envoy to China, Ramon Tulfo Jr said that he and members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), a “Cabinet member,” a senator, and several other government officials had already been vaccinated with Sinopharm jabs.
The vaccination campaign, expected to be bolstered by more doses of the vaccines arriving throughout 2021, prioritizes frontline workers in health facilities, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.
Below, we lay out the announced tiers of prioritization for COVID-19 vaccination and general guidelines to consider before getting the jab from any brand.
To ensure fair allocation of the vaccine, the list below was created by the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), a group of health experts advising the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
Prioritization was based on assessing risks of exposure and physical condition in compliance with the WHO’s recommendations of giving priority to medical frontliners and those considered "high-risk." High-risk individuals are senior citizens, people with heart or lung disease, diabetes, or conditions affecting their immune system.
Generally, it is recommended to extensively consult a doctor regarding eligibility to receive the vaccine, especially if there are any prior health conditions and to consider guidelines of the specific brand of vaccine being used.
Now that you know where you lie in terms of prioritization for a COVID-19 vaccine, what else should you consider before getting the jab?
NITAG says that for the following groups, vaccination may be received once medical clearance is obtained:
They also say the following groups may receive the vaccine:
They advise that for the following groups, vaccination should be deferred and rescheduled until their specific conditions are resolved:
And lastly, NITAG recommends that the following groups should not be vaccinated:
For brand-specific guidelines, the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC), an advisory group to the DOH, releases guidelines for COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use by the FDA. As of March 10, only Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccines have been given these recommendations. – Sofia Guanzon/Rappler.com
This article was written by a Rappler volunteer or intern and reviewed by a member of Rappler's research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler's internship program here.
Read Rappler's series of explainers on the Duterte government's vaccine program below: