DOH: Depression a comorbidity, but current COVID vaccine supply reserved for health frontliners
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday that the quick substitution list (QSL) for COVID-19 vaccination should only include healthcare workers for now, even as it recognized that depression is considered a comorbidity.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire issued the statement following the controversial vaccination of actor Mark Anthony Fernandez who, according to Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, is qualified for the early vaccination since he suffers from hypertension and depression.
Vergeire, however, said that the DOH has already laid out guidelines for vaccination even before its rollout, and that part of these protocols is the inclusion of healthcare workers only for the QSL at this time.
“We also emphasized in this protocol and also emphasized during these town hall meetings na ang ating kasama sa (that those included in the) quick substitution list would also be a part of the priority sector for now, which are the healthcare workers who are our frontliners,” added.
The QSL contains the names of individuals who can substitute the beneficiaries of the vaccines should they back out or failto show up on inoculation day.
According to Vergeire, it has been agreed that vaccination sites will also be informed when they could already vaccinate the next priority sector.
“Never did we say that we are going to go to the next sector. Dyan po sa QSL protocol natin nakalagay din dyan (In our QSL protocol, it is also included there) that everybody will be informed and instructed when we are going to shift and go to the next sector already,” she said.
“So maliwanag po ‘yan. Nasa A sector tayo ngayon (So that is clear. We are in the A sector). Your quick substitution list should include all healthcare workers and frontliners who are directly caring for our COVID-19 patients,” Vergeire added.
Olivarez, also the chairman of the Metro Manila Council, said that the actor was eligible for vaccination because the local government had already vaccinated all of its healthcare personnel.
Vergeire said that while depression is a comorbidity, the priority for the vaccination should still be healthcare workers for now.
“We recognize also that depression is a comorbidity. Ang depression po ay hindi dapat ipinagsasawalang bahala. Sila rin po ay inaalagaan ng ating lipunan. So when we talk about comorbidities we are including kung ano po ang ilalagay sa certificate at irerecognize po natin ‘yan,” she said.
(We recognize that depression is also a comorbidity. Depression should not be taken for granted. People with depression are also being cared for by society. So when we talk about comorbidities, we are including whatever they write in the certificates and we will recognize that.)
“We recognize this as a comorbidity, but again as I have said hindi pa po tayo nandoon sa level ng sector na ‘yun para bigyan sila ng bakunang ito,” she added.
(We recognize this as a comorbidity, but again as I have said we are not yet in the period when individuals under the said sector can receive the vaccine.)
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