The Department of Health revealed on Friday (March 26) that they’re looking for more health workers to vaccinate under the government’s prioritized inoculation program for medical frontline workers. 

In an interview with ABS CBN’s Teleradyo, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they’re aiming to vaccinate at least 1.8 million frontline health workers as part of the government’s initial vaccine scheme. 

However, Vergeire shared that they’re still in the process of getting in touch with more health workers for the first COVID-19 jab. She notes that many medical workers are not affiliated with the government’s institutions and facilities. 

She says the health workers she’s talking about are the ‘stand-ins,’ ‘freelance workers,’ and those who are working for private facilities. 

“Hindi pa rin natin sila nahahanap dahil nga po maraming mga health-care workers ngayon dealing with COVID are not affiliated in any of the institutions or facilities that we have right now,” she said.

In light of this, Vergeire has called on local government units (LGUs) to aid them in finding these populations in order to significantly improve the speed of the vaccination program. 

Vergeire says local governments should make use of the ‘quick substitution list’ (QSL) if they’re unable to find frontline workers to vaccinate. She mentions that this is done to ensure that available vaccines will not be wasted. 

She warns that if the government diverges from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to prioritize the vaccination of health workers, future supplies of COVID-19 vaccines may be ‘compromised.’ 

“Isa pa po naming ipinapaala, dahil sinabi ng WHO, we should prioritize health workers now. If we violate this, this might compromise further nating supplies [vaccines] in the future,” she said. 

According to National Task Force Against COVID19 (NTF), they’ve now administered the first dose of vaccines to more than 500,000 medical frontliners.

In its most recent tally, the Health Department recorded a daily increase of 8,773 in COVID-19 infections. It sees the total number of active cases in the country jump to at least 100,000.

You can listen to Health Department Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire’s interview below.

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