A health official on Monday admitted receiving reports of individuals who are not health workers jumping the line for coronavirus vaccines, just weeks into the rollout intended to prioritize frontline workers in healthcare facilities.
“We have had reports of this and although we have been saying that this can’t be, because we have a prioritized vaccination in terms of the healthcare workers, but this has been observed. The numbers are very insignificant but we do see jumping the queue,” treatment czar Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega told ANC in an interview.
“This has been observed across the globe. There is a jump in the queue and we cannot avoid this oftentimes. Sometimes, it happens,” he added.
Despite this, Vega stressed that authorities have been instructing regional offices and vaccination sites not to allow people to cut the line to give way to health workers, who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19.
“This is not what we agreed upon in terms of vaccine use and we all know that the priority for the vaccine use right now, because of the minimum supply that we have, is for the healthcare workers,” he said.
Malacañang has also admitted that the prioritization list was not followed in the first week of the vaccine rollout because shots were administered to certain government officials who are not health workers.
The World Health Organization earlier warned the Philippines that its doses from the COVAX Facility, a global initiative for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, could be jeopardized if it fails to follow the prioritization list.
The priority list puts frontline workers in healthcare facilities, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities first in line for vaccination.
The country has so far inoculated over 240,000 health workers. — Julia Mari Ornedo/RSJ, GMA News