The Daily Manila Shimbun


Gov’t to be more cautious in COVID-19 vaccination for senior citizens – Galvez

January 17, 2021

The Philippine government will be more careful in choosing the coronavirus vaccine to be administered to the senior citizens, an official said on Sunday.

This was after reports that 23 Norwegian senior citizens who received Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have died.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is aiming for a zero casualty and make sure that the same incident in Norway will not happen here.

“We created a task group of vaccine experts that will take care (of our senior citizens). We will check their history… Our goal is zero casualties as much as possible,” Galvez said in a radio interview.

After learning of the new, Galvez said he immediately talked to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III about their plans to give first the vaccine to only those who are 18 to 59 years old.

“We will look for a vaccine that is for senior citizens,” he said.

“Based on the initial report of Norway, (the vaccine) is really dangerous for 80 (years old) and above. So we will really take care of those who have complications and are already frail because we need to see the risk and benefit of the vaccine that we will have,” he added.

On January 14, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine of Pfizer-BioNTech which is expected to arrive by February through the COVAX Facility, a global initiative which aims at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide with equitable access to safe and effective vaccines.

The government is eyeing to vaccinate up to 70 million Filipinos this year as the government is currently negotiating with some seven manufacturers for the purchase of at least 148 million doses. Ella Dionisio/DMS