IATF revisits ‘no vaccine, no work’ policy

Maris Federez   •   December 7, 2021   •   193

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) announced that it is revisiting Resolutions 148-B and 149 on the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of onsite workers.

Department of Health (DOH) Usec. Charade Mercado-Grande, who is in the DOH-IATF Secretariat, said the resolutions mandating the “no vaccine, no work” policy is under review.

“The matter is already under review and discussion po, Mr. Chair,” she said during the House Committee on Labor and Employment hearing on Tuesday.

The House panel had earlier sent a letter to the IATF, urging the body to suspend the resolution that allows business establishments to implement the ‘no vaccine, no work” policy among onsite employees.

Mercado-Grande confirmed that the resolution is still in effect despite calls from members of the House to have it suspended.

Committee chair Rep. Eric Pineda expressed dismay over the seeming disregard of the IATF to their call.

“Wala man lang sagot sa amin, ni ha ni ho. Di sana tumawag man sila o nagparamdam man lang sila. But the way we feel it, especially my committee members, para kaming napapahiya dito. Para kaming hindi binibigyan ng importansya ng mga amo ninyo,” Pineda said.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Ferdinand Gaite shared the same sentiment.

“Tila hindi binibigyan ng pagpapahalaga itong napakalaki nang implication sa ating mga manggagawa sa kasalukuyan,” he said.

With this, Pineda warned that it will issue a subpoena to the officials of the IATF should the body continue to ignore their panel’s invitation to attend the hearing.

“Kasi we don’t want na umabot sa punto na this committee will now subpoena the members of the IATF just to compel them to attend this hearing,” Pineda said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

DILG warns public, says no such thing as ‘COVID vaccination exemption cards’

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

Image from DILG

The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Tuesday said that there is no such thing as “COVID-19 vaccination exemption cards.”

“The public is warned that there is no such thing as a ‘vaccination exemption card.’ This is not authorized, issued, nor recognized by the government. In other words, these are fake,” DILG Spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

Malaya said they have received reports that this card supposedly originated from Facebook groups and group chats in Davao Region and Soccsksargen that can allegedly be registered to local government units (LGUs).

The cards are also supposedly recognized by local authorities in lieu of COVID-19 vaccination cards.

According to reports, people are being asked to put their name, birthdate, address, and signatures on the green vaccination exemption card being shared in FB groups and group chats, have the cards printed, laminated, and registered to their barangay/city/municipal LGUs.

“The so-called exemption cards look similar to the green COVID-19 Vaccination Cards being issued by several LGUs,” Malaya said.

“Sa biglang tingin aakalain itong tunay dahil pareho ng kulay, format at hitsura,” he added.

Malaya said the government will never issue nor recognize such cards because this runs counter to the government’s national vaccination program to inoculate the majority of the populace to achieve population protection.

He also called on local authorities to be more vigilant in their inspection of vaccination cards at provincial and regional borders amid restrictions being implemented for unvaccinated people.

PH gov’t to tap drug stores as COVID-19 vaccine booster sites

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to tap drug stores to serve as COVID-19 vaccine booster sites in a bid to ramp up the administration of booster jabs in the country.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with some of his officials on Monday, Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 response Vince Dizon said the government will seek the help of pharmacies in the country following reports that some vaccination staff have also contracted the virus.

Dizon said the program, which would be dubbed “Resbakuna sa mga botika,” will be launched this week in the first seven pharmacies in Metro Manila.

The pilot run is set for January 20 to 21 in sites including Mercury Drug, Watsons, Rose Pharmacy, Southstar Drug, and the Generics Pharmacy, as well as Healthway and QualiMed.

After the weeklong run, it would then be expanded to other drugstores across the country, he added.

“We will start with 7 pharmacies in Metro Manila which we will launch on Thursday, January 20 and on Friday, January 21,” Dizon said.

“Mabilis po ito Mr. President, pagka-launch po natin, magpi-pilot po sila ng isang linggo, mag-eexpand na po tayo nang mabilis sa iba’t iba pang cities all over the country- Luzon, Visayas, at Mindanao- at sa iba’t ibang mga botika,” he added.

The program aims to assist local government units and the Department of Health with additional personnel for vaccination. It will also help decentralize the inoculation by having smaller but widely spread vaccination sites in the form of drugstores.

 

Philippines posts 28,471 new COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Tuesday logged 28,471 more COVID-19 cases, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

This is the first time in a week that the number of new COVID-19 infections fell below 30,000.

In its data, the DOH said that 27,735 of the newly reported cases occurred within the recent 14 days. Most infections were reported in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

The latest figure pushed the country’s number of active cases to 284,458 – 8,930 of which are asymptomatic, 270,784 are mild, 2,957 are moderate, 1,484 are severe, and 303 are in critical condition.

The positivity rate was at 43.4 percent, based on samples of 51,738 individuals on January 16.

Five laboratories failed to submit their data on time. These facilities contribute on average 1.7 percent of samples tested and 2.1 percent of positive cases.

Recoveries increased by 34,892, resulting in 2,933,338 total recuperations.

COVID-related deaths rose to 52,962 with 34 new fatalities.

The utilization rate of intensive care unit beds nationwide was at 49 percent, and 53 percent in Metro Manila; isolation beds in the capital region at 48 percent, and 49 percent across the country.

In Metro Manila, 29 percent of ventilators are in use, and  22 percent nationwide.

 

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