MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said that health screening prior to vaccination remains a requirement despite recommendations from health experts to forego this process.
In an online briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire emphasized that conducting a screening prior to a patient’s vaccination is important as this will help check for symptoms related to COVID-19 or other diseases.
She said this step is especially important for the elderly and persons with co-morbidities even when they are already receiving their second dose.
“Kailangan mong screen kahit second dose kasi meron po tayong specific na circumstances na hindi natin pwedeng bigyan ng bakuna ang ating mga kababayan,” she said.
“Whether it be first or second dose, kailangan nai-screen sila,” she added.
The DOH earlier issued revised guidelines on the government’s COVID-19 vaccination and deployment program.
Under the Department Memorandum No. 2021-0175, only individuals experiencing a blood pressure (BP) of 180/120 or higher, with signs and symptoms of organ damage during the screening process, cannot be vaccinated.
“Other vaccine recipients with blood pressure not meeting definitions of hypertensive emergency may be vaccinated,” the DOH said.
The department also emphasized that medical clearance is not required for vaccination, except for individuals with autoimmune disease, HIV, cancer patients currently undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, transplant patients, those undergoing steroid treatment, and patients who are bedridden or with a poor prognosis.
The DOH also said that individuals who recently recovered from COVID-19 may be vaccinated immediately after recovery or completion of treatment for their first or second dose.
Those who were not able to receive their second dose due to medical reasons must coordinate with their respective vaccination sites for the immediate rescheduling of their vaccination.
Vergeire said that vaccinators should be reminded to take conduct health screening and to follow the vaccination guidelines.
“Sinasabi ngayon na mayroong gumagawa na hindi na nag-screen hindi po iyan tama,” she said.
Vergeire also said that there is no more need to ask vaccine recipients for informed consent when administering the second shot as this has been obtained during the first dose. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)