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THE government is seriously considering the idea of keeping mum on the brand of COVID-19 vaccines for deployment to avoid another incident similar to what happened in Manila and Paranaque City.

According to Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, the local government units would no longer be informed beforehand of the brand of doses they will be receiving in an apparent effort to ramp up the vaccination pace and prevent swarming of people at the vaccination sites.

Cabotaje is actually referring to the Manila and Paranaque City incidents that saw unusually long queues of local folks who were haggling to get a dose of their preferred vaccine brand – in that case, Pfizer.

Maybe one of the strategies that can be done is hindi na i-a-announce kung anong bakuna ang ibibigay,” Cabotaje was quoted as saying at the Laging Handa public briefing, adding that those who will refuse vaccination because they prefer a different brand will be made to return to the tail end of the queuing system.

However, Cabotaje admitted that health workers have the right of first refusal because the China-made vaccines were not recommended for them.

That has always been the principle. Ang binigyan lang natin ng right of first refusal, yung A1, ‘yung mga health workers kasi these are the vulnerable groups… also because of the fact that, at the beginning, ‘yung Sinovac was not recommended for health workers.”

Other than that, there should be no right of refusal. Kung ano ‘yung vaccine, kunin mo,” she further averred.

It is also a must, she added, that the public pre-register for vaccines and would only be allowed to go to the vaccination centers when called upon by the local vaccination team.

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