Talks on Covid-19 vaccine brand for OFWs needed: DOH

May 26, 2021

A health official on Wednesday said a talk at an ‘international level’ is needed in order to identify the specific requirements, including coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine brands, for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who already want to start working in their host countries.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Health Undersecretary and National Vaccination Operations chairperson Myrna Cabotaje said the government is aware that some countries prefer Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine over other brands to be administered to OFWs who plan to be employed in their nation.

“We will continue to have talks with the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) and the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) para makipagtalastasan sa mga bansang naturan kung paano nila mare-relax ang kanilang requirements kung hindi man titingnan natin dito sa ating bansa how else we can address immediately ang mga concern na ito ng mga OFWs (to have a discussion with these countries on how they can relax their requirements or check within our country how else we can address immediately the OFWs concern,” she added.

Cabotaje acknowledged the government has “some problems with Pfizer vaccines because of its availability”.

“But I’m sure, we’ll come to a win-win solution kasi kailangan na rin ng ating mga OFWs na lumabas na ng ating bansa para sila ay magtrabaho (because our OFWs already need to go abroad and work),” she said.

On May 10, the first batch of 193,050 doses of Pfizer jabs donated through the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility arrived in the country.

Based on conditions set by the COVAX Facility, its donated jabs must be allotted to priority sectors including medical front-liners (A1), senior citizens (A2), persons with comorbidities (A3), and the indigent population (A5).

As of May 25, a total of 4,495,375 Filipinos have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, 10,695 of whom are front-line workers from essential sectors during a ceremonial vaccination on May 1.

The Covid-19 vaccines used in the government’s inoculation drive include AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac, and Sputnik V. (PNA)