What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines in the Philippines

Rouselle Isla
·8 min read
COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines
COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines

The development of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines is a huge help in the fight against this global pandemic. With a COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines, people can get protection from severe symptoms that usually lead to hospitalization or death.

As of this writing, there are 828,366 COVID-19 cases in the country and a total of 14,119 deaths.[1]

The Philippine government is aiming to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 by 2023.[2] Herd immunity or community immunity occurs when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness), making the spread of this disease from person to person unlikely.[3]

What is the COVID-19 Vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccination
COVID-19 vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccine is a vaccine that provides acquired immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing COVID-19.

In general, vaccines work by helping your body develop an immunity to germs or viruses. Vaccines mimic these germs and viruses. As a result, your body develops antibodies to fight them off and prevent you from getting sick from it again in the future.

Based on early data from clinical trials, the vaccines can lower your chances of getting COVID-19 and help prevent getting seriously sick with COVID-19.

Is It Safe to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Yes. Even if pharmaceutical companies developed COVID-19 vaccines so quickly, they did not skip any steps, and all the vaccines underwent careful testing.[4] The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also granted them emergency use authorization,[5] a risk-based procedure to assess unlicensed vaccines during public health emergencies.

In addition, COVID-19 vaccines are continuously monitored for any problems or side effects that did not happen during the clinical trials. Therefore, the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out today are considered safe and effective based on currently available data.

Who Will Get Vaccinated First?

Because of their higher risk of exposure on the job, medical frontliners received the first COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines. In March 2021, healthcare workers in six Metro Manila hospitals received the Sinovac vaccine.[6] With their COVID-19 vaccination, frontliners can continue doing their jobs while being protected from COVID-19.

As of this writing, vulnerable groups like senior citizens and persons with comorbidities are being vaccinated. If you belong to these priority groups, check where to register for your free COVID-19 shot[7] with your local government unit. For the latest updates, you may also visit your LGU’s official websites or social media pages.

COVID-19 Vaccination Program Prioritization Framework

Priority Eligible A

Priority Eligible B

Priority Eligible C

A1 - Workers in frontline health services

B1 - Teachers and social workers

C - Rest of the Filipino population not otherwise included in the above groups

A2 - All senior citizens

B2 - Other government workers

A3 - Persons with comorbidities

B3 - Other essential workers

A4 - Frontline personnel in essential sectors and uniformed personnel

B4 - Socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk other than senior citizens and poor population based on the NHTS-PR

A5 - Indigent population

B5 - Overseas Filipino Workers and other remaining workforce

Source: Department of Health

COVID-19 Vaccine Price List in the Philippines

Earlier this year, COVID-19 vaccine price lists in the Philippines started circulating online, showing the total prices for two doses of vaccines from the following brands:[8]

  • Moderna – PHP 3,904 to PHP 4,504

  • Sinovac – PHP 3,629.50

  • Pfizer – PHP 2,379

  • Gamaleya – PHP 1,220

  • COVAX Facility – PHP 854

  • AstraZeneca – PHP 610

  • Novavax – PHP 366

However, the Department of Health (DOH) clarified that these were not the negotiated prices and were only generated to help estimate the budget needed for the COVID-19 vaccination program in the Philippines.

Note: You don’t need to pay for the vaccine. The cost of COVID-19 vaccines for the priority groups will be shouldered by the Philippine government.[9]

Furthermore, the DOH assured that PhilHealth will also shoulder the medical expenses of patients who experience adverse effects after they receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines.[10]

Read more:

FAQs on COVID-19 Vaccines in the Philippines

COVID vaccine
COVID vaccine

1. Has anyone caught COVID-19 after getting the vaccine?

Immunity from COVID-19 takes a few weeks to build up after you receive your shot. It’s possible to still get the virus and get sick even before or after you get vaccinated. This is why you’re still required to observe health protocols, like wearing your masks and practicing social distancing.

Read more:

2. Do I still need the vaccine if I already had COVID-19?

Yes. Whether you’ve already had COVID-19 or not, you should get the COVID-19 vaccine. There’s no hard data yet on how long you’re protected from COVID-19 after recovering from it. And it’s possible that you can get the virus again if you skip getting the vaccine.

However, if you’re currently sick with COVID-19, you should wait until you have fully recovered before getting vaccinated.[11]

3. What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Life-threatening side effects or reactions are rare. But the most common possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include the following:

  • Pain, redness, itchiness, or swelling at the injection site that may last for a few hours

  • Fever

  • Feeling weak or tired

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

If you experience any of these symptoms, inform and consult your healthcare professional.

4. Is COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?

Currently, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is not required for everyone. But if you don’t want to suffer from severe COVID-19 symptoms, then you should be vaccinated.

There’s no way to tell how this virus can affect you. One person can be asymptomatic or experience mild illness while another can suffer severe complications that can even lead to death.

5. What should I do on my vaccination day?

  1. Proceed to your assigned vaccination site on your scheduled time slot wearing your face mask and face shield.

  2. Sign the consent form that you’re willing to be vaccinated and that you’re aware of the vaccine’s risks and benefits.

  3. There will be a brief Q&A with the doctor or medical personnel regarding your health condition and medical history. Be honest with your answers.

  4. You’ll get your vaccine shot.

  5. The medical personnel will encode your data and monitor you for approximately 30 minutes before you can leave.

  6. Wait for the announcement from your LGU regarding your second dose.

6. Can the private sector procure COVID-19 vaccines?

Yes. Private sector companies can procure COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, provided that they enter into tripartite agreements with the Philippine national government and the vaccine manufacturers.[12]

Read more: Unemployment Benefits and Other COVID-19 Government Assistance Schemes

Some Things to Remember on Your Vaccination Day

COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines
COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines

Keep in mind these tips for a safe and stress-free experience when you get a COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines:

  • Bring your own pen, as well as a government-issued ID with your address on it.

  • Wear comfortable clothes to stay cool because most vaccination sites are not air-conditioned. And since you’ll be transferring from one seat to another, wear jeans or pants instead of shorts.

  • Stay calm and relaxed. You won’t be able to proceed with the vaccination with elevated blood pressure.

  • Continue wearing your face mask and observe social distancing.

Final Thoughts

All vaccines carry a risk of reaction. But know that these COVID-19 vaccines were found safe and effective in large-scale clinical trials.

While waiting for your turn to get vaccinated, stay safe and healthy, especially if you have underlying health conditions. Speak with your doctor to check if you can get the vaccine. If you’re clear to get vaccinated against COVID-19, bring your medical clearance so that the doctor administering the vaccine will know your medical condition.

And before you believe anything you see online regarding the efficacy or side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines, do your own research. Learn as much as you can about each vaccine by consulting with medical professionals or visiting authority websites.

Disclaimer: This article is created for general information purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or qualified healthcare professional regarding your questions and concerns about COVID-19 vaccination.

Sources:

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