Health workers first to be listed in coronavirus vaccination plan

Workers in the health sector will be the first to be profiled in preparation for the National Vaccination Program to be implemented in Catanduanes once a vaccine for coronavirus is available by February or March.

Last week, the Incident Management Team Against COVID-19 headed by Incident Commander Dr. Angel Albert Lamban submitted its proposed Vaccination Action Plan for adoption by the provincial government, which along with other local government units has been directed to undertake preparatory activities for the implementation of the National Vaccination Program.

Under the plan, Vaccination Teams to be created will be composed of a screening and assessment member, preferably a physician, nurse or midwife; vaccinator, either a nurse or midwife; a midwife or barangay health worker to document the process and take the vital signs; security personnel and driver; and, a supervisor for every three (3) Vaccination Teams.

The teams will each be assisted by a Composite Team to monitor the conditions of those vaccinated and to undertake surveillance in the field.

Prior to vaccination, the LGU will have to undertake the listing and registration of population groups using an online platform developed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

First priority in the masterlisting will be workers in the health sector, including those in frontline health services as well as public and private health facilities, public health workers and contact tracers, active Barangay Health Workers and Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs), and personnel of other national government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and others.

Following in the order of priority are all senior citizens, indigent population, military and uniformed personnel, other frontline workers and special population, and the remaining population.

For health workers, their profiles will be consolidated in the COVID-19 Electronic Immunization Registry (CEIR) and then endorsed to the regional office. To be considered prior to vaccination will be the recipients’ allergy, immunodeficiency state and exclusions during the vaccine trials including pregnancy, comorbidities and COVID-19.

The LGUs will have to register with the CEIR and then approve an ordinance targeting the masterlist priority sectors, the data of which will be uploaded to the Registry.

The identification of the vaccine and eligible population is the first of several pre-vaccination activities, followed by the identification of simulation areas; profiling, screening and registration; and, lastly, vaccine allocation and distribution.

The vaccines will be transported by the supplier to private warehouses to be rented by the DOH, after which it will be deployed to the regional hubs for distribution to local health offices, hospitals and implementing units.

During the vaccination itself, the recipients, wearing face masks and face shields, will be seated singly and apart in a waiting area where handwashing facilities will be put up.

Then they will proceed to the registration area for their QR codes and data inputs, after which they will move to another room where health education and counselling will be provided by a counselor using a video and IEC materials. At this time, they will give their final consent for the vaccination.

At the screening area, the recipients will be checked for their vital signs using a checklist and, once given the go-signal, enter the vaccination area for the procedure which should take just 1-2 minutes.

The process from registration to vaccination should take an average of 15 minutes per person.

From there, they will go to the post-vaccination area where they will be monitored by a team composed of a nurse, midwife and paramedic for about 30 minutes to one hour. This area will be equipped with a treatment kit, stretchers, handwashing area, oxygen tank, intubation set, pulse oximeter and other gear, along with an ambulance on standby.

For now, the proposal has initially identified the Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) as the vaccination site where three composite teams will be deployed.

Pursuant to IATF guidelines, the vaccination post must be in an open or well-ventilated area which should be frequently disinfected. It must be spacious enough to implement physical distancing and crowd control measures, must have separate entrance and exit, with separate tables for each step, and big enough to accommodate 24 individuals at a given time.

After vaccination, those who received the vaccines will be placed under surveillance pursuant to the World Health Organization’s guidelines for establishing Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) surveillance systems.

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