10 Things You Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines
Updated Feb. 4, 2021
1. WHY VACCINATE? WHY BAKUNATION?
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken many lives, and continues to put many at risk. It has also disrupted the economy, leaving many Filipinos jobless or underemployed.
With the availability of COVID-19 vaccines which can (1) prevent symptomatic infection and possibly (2) prevent severe infection and (3) prevent transmission, we have the opportunity to get ahead of the virus.
However, like many vaccines being used in the past decades, the protective effect on our community is maximized only when at least 70% of the population get vaccinated.
For example, if your barangay has 100,000 people, at least 70,000 should be vaccinated to ensure protection of the community.
So remember, this is not just about getting you or your family vaccinated, this is about getting your barangay, city, province up for it.
2. WHICH VACCINES WILL WE USE IN THE COUNTRY?
There is currently a limited supply of vaccines all over the world. In fact, 80% of global stocks have been bought by high income countries already.
Because no single company can provide for vaccines for 110 million of us, the government is in talks with 7 manufacturers. But rest assured that only vaccines that have received Philippine FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization or EUA will be bought and used. The EUA provides the assurance that it has been thoroughly evaluated and recommended by our various independent expert panels.
Also, please do not worry, COVID-19 vaccines cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
3. HOW MUCH WILL I HAVE TO PAY?
Government will provide the vaccine for free. You do not need to pay for anything to be vaccinated.
4. WHO GETS THE VACCINE FIRST?
Since we need to ensure that our health system will be able to continuously care for all of us, medical frontliners will be the first to receive the vaccines.
This is to be followed by eligible senior citizens who are at greatest risk of severe infection or deaths. We know from our local data that COVID-19 is more dangerous for the elderly.
The sequence of who will be prioritized have been determined with the help of our experts.
5. WHEN AND WHERE WILL I GET VACCINATED?
The national government is working in partnership with our local governments to get the vaccines to you. Your local government unit will arrange for the registration and scheduling of vaccination.
Please wait for specific instructions and announcements from your mayor or governor.
6. WHAT TO DO BEFORE GETTING VACCINATED?
While we wait for the vaccines to arrive, make sure you obtain accurate information only from the right sources. Ask only licensed medical professionals so that you are correctly advised regarding COVID-19 vaccination. Verify things you may have read or heard. It is only when you are armed with the right information can you rightfully decide yourself if you will be vaccinated.
Your health history will be crucial in determining whether you should get vaccinated or what vaccines are appropriate for you. It is therefore important that you take the health screening seriously.
Show up on the day of your screening and declare your complete medical history (e.g. allergies, risky behavior). The health care professional will only be able to assess you correctly if you provide the correct information. If you did not undergo screening, you will not be booked or scheduled for vaccination.
7. WHAT TO DO ON THE DAY OF VACCINATION?
a. Go to your assigned vaccination site on time - of course wearing your mask and face shield.
b. Before getting your shot, you will sign an informed consent form signifying your willingness to be vaccinated and that you are aware of the benefits and risks of the vaccine.
Follow the minimum health standards protocols in your vaccination site to keep everyone safe (e.g. physical distancing appropriately).
c. Immediately after being vaccinated, you will receive your vaccination card and you will be asked to stay in the facility for 1 hour before you can go home. This is to allow your health care providers to monitor if you will experience any unusual symptoms, or what we call adverse events. Because we take safety seriously, monitoring will continue for until 12 months after you get your shot.
8. WHAT TO DO AFTER VACCINATION?
You may experience some side effects, similar to having the flu but this should go away in a few days. Don’t worry, this is a normal sign that your body is building protection. In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal but do contact your health care provider if the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours or if your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.
It is important that you report to the health authorities so experts can study whether the adverse event was indeed a result of vaccination or a mere coincidence. We don’t want to worry the public unnecessarily.
Also, with most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots in order for you to get the promised protection. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless your healthcare provider tells you not to get a second sho
9. HOW TO CONTINUOUSLY PROTECT ME AND MY FAMILY?
Since it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination, you are only protected until a week or two after your second shot. Even then, vaccines are just one of the many tools for us to stop the pandemic.
We all need to continue wearing masks, staying at least 1 meter away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing hands often to protect yourself and your family.
10. AUTHENTICITY AND COLD CHAIN
Finally, know that only COVID-19 vaccines certified to be authentic and are transported under strict cold chain conditions are able to provide full protection for those who are vaccinated.
Vaccines are biological products and are sensitive - Counterfeit vaccines can jeopardize your health and safety; so can vaccines that have been transported in temperatures that are too hot or too cold.
So make sure you access your vaccines from trusted and legitimate sources who can assure you that the vaccines are produced by the real manufacturers and that it is kept at the right temperature all the way from the manufacturing plant to your arms.