ANAKALUSUGAN party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Wednesday urged local government units (LGUs) to let people choose which coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine booster brand they would like to take.
Defensor said the Department of Health (DoH) has come out with guidelines on mix-and-match of primary jabs and booster shots and LGUs should adopt the agency’s recommendations by clearly indicating in their registration websites which vaccines are available.
Defensor lamented that Quezon City’s supposedly uncomplicated Vax Easy registration system does not show which brand of vaccine is offered in what vaccination center.
“All it shows are the inoculation centers and the number of slots still available, leaving the registrant to guess which booster to choose,” Defensor said.
This is the reason why not many city residents are registering “for fear that they would just waste their time by returning home if the do not like the vaccine when they go to their preferred vaccination site,” he said.
He said the Quezon City LGU “should be transparent in its registration process by making clear what vaccines are available so people would not waste their time or feel deceived.”
Defensor pointed out that based on the DoH mix-and-match guidelines, those who have received their primary shots have the option to choose Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna as their booster.
However, he added that based on reports, people prefer Pfizer or Moderna as additional dose.
He said the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) on North Avenue in Quezon City ran out of vaccine supply last week because it offered Pfizer as booster.
“Unlike the QC Vax Easy online site, VMMC made it clear it was offering Pfizer. That’s why people trooped there in droves,” he said.
Defensor urged the hospital to resume its booster vaccination service.
Health Sec. Francisco Duque lll has blamed VMMC for running out of supply and turning away thousands who had pre-registered to take their booster.
He said 67,000 doses were delivered to the hospital before December 25, and it should have asked for replenishment when stock ran low.