ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec 4 (PIA) - There are no guidelines yet as to when, how and to whom the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered when it will finally be available in the country, but an official from the Department of Health (DOH) here believes that one thing is for certain. Those who will get it first will be the most vulnerable.
"We are still waiting for the IATF guidelines with regards to administering the vaccine when it becomes available, but vulnerable sectors will be given priority although there will still be talks regarding prioritization," said Dr. Joshua Brillantes, DOH-9 assistant regional director during the Philippine Information Agency's (PIA) Kapihan na Zamboanga.
Among those who are mostly high-risk in terms of manifesting COVID-19 symptoms include the senior citizens, those with existing medical conditions and children.
Dr. Brillantes said this is where the daily COVID-19 data come in. "Of course, we would like to have a basis as to whom should be prioritized," he added. The DOH, in coordination with the local government units maintains a real-time database of COVID-19 cases, including the suspect cases and mortalities, among other indicators.
Meanwhile, the official shared that COVID-19 cases have been on steady decrease in Zamboanga City. "For several weeks now, we have observed the downtrend. This is a welcome development especially since people have been more serious in observing the health protocols."
"But this does not mean we should be relaxed. In fact, we must be more vigilant than ever to maintain the downtrend," he added.
However, cases in the city's neighboring provinces have been noted to rise.
The health official nevertheless reminds residents to avoid parties and large social gatherings especially during the holiday season. "These (gatherings) are still not allowed. We are still experiencing a pandemic," he said.
The national government is eyeing several probable vaccines including those from AstraZeneca from the University of Oxford, Moderna from the US National Institutes of Health and Pfizer, BioNTech, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group.
Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., the government's vaccine czar earlier said that the vaccines will probably arrive soonest in May 2021. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had earlier directed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fast-track the vaccine approval process. (RVC/DIS/PIA9-ZAMSULTA)