Cayetano, allies thank DOH approval for COVID-19 booster shots

Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and the Balik sa Tamang Serbisyo (BTS) group on Sunday thanked the Department of Health (DOH) for approving the rollout of COVID-19 booster shots for priority groups, including health care workers.

This after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III approved the recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to administer COVID-19 booster shots for health workers, senior citizens, and the immunocompromised.

“We are thankful for the decision of the DOH. Time is running out and despite the recent decrease in the cases of COVID-19 in various places, these victories will be wasted if we do not give booster shots to our health frontliners,” Cayetano said in a statement.

According to the HTAC’s recommendation, healthcare workers should receive their booster shots before the year ends, while the distribution of booster jabs for senior citizens can commence early next year.

The former Speaker said health workers should not be left behind in the country’s efforts to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grabe ang sakripisyo ng ating mga health frontliners. Sila talaga ang mga sundalo natin sa efforts natin na labanan ang pandemic. Hindi pwede na puro pasasalamat lang tayo sa kanila. Kailangan nila ang ating tulong at suporta,” Cayetano said.

(Our health frontliners have made great sacrifices. They are our soldiers in our efforts to fight the pandemic. We can’t just stop with thanking them. They need our help and support.)

Cayetano and his allies had earlier filed a resolution strongly urging the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to provide booster/additional shots to health care workers and the immunocompromised.

“It is vital to protect our healthcare workers, so that they may, in turn, take care of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. With hundreds of hospitals in the country nearing full capacity and our healthcare workers having to attend to more patients and extending working hours as a result of recent rise in positive cases, we cannot afford a further shortage of our health manpower as a result of our healthcare workers being infected with the virus,” the resolution, which was filed on September 13, 2021, said.

House Joint Resolution No. 40 was signed by Cayetano, Taguig 2nd District Rep. Maria Laarni Cayetano, ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list Rep. Michael Defensor, Laguna 1st District Rep. Dan Fernandez, Batangas 2nd District Rep. Raneo Abu, and Bulacan 1st District Rep. Jose Antonio “Kuya” Sy-Alvarado.

The resolution came after a series of letters sent by the group to the IATF as early as August 20, 2021 in which they said providing the health workers with additional protection “will allow them to continue taking care of Filipinos who require medical attention from COVID and non-COVID diseases and shield us from a possible collapse of the healthcare system.”

In their statement on Sunday, Cayetano and his allies also asked for “continued dialogue with the health frontliners” in order to protect and re-energize them.

Marami sa ating healthcare workers ang napapagod na, at hindi natin sila masisisi kung iisipin nilang mangibang-bayan dahil mas malaki ang sahod doon at tila mas pinapahalagahan ang kanilang propesyon. Kailangang bukas lagi ang pamahalaan para makinig sa kanilang mga hinaing,” the group said.

(Many of our healthcare workers are getting tired, and we can’t blame them if they are considering working abroad where the pay is higher and their profession is given due impottance. The government must keep the lines of communication open to listen to their complaints.)###

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