Nurses' group wants safety, higher efficacy in COVID-19 vaccine for health workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 13) — An officer of a nurses group expressed concerns about the vaccination of healthcare workers, mentioning the low efficacy rate of Sinovac's CoronaVac, which is the COVID-19 vaccine the national government is planning to procure.

Healthcare workers are among the first that the government wants to be vaccinated due to their constant exposure to risks of getting the virus.

Filipino Nurses United Vice President Eleanor Nolasco told CNN Philippines on Wednesday that she personally feels that healthcare workers are being treated as “guinea pigs” in the vaccination program.

“I would not like to use it but it would appear na parang guinea pigs na naman ang health workers dito sa issue ng vaccination,” Nolasco said.

[Translation: I would not like to use it but it would appear that health workers are being treated as guinea pigs in the issue of vaccination.]

“We have very strong misgivings given the issues and problems that hound the first vaccine that will be given to the public,” she said, referring to sentiments among some members of the nurses' association.

Nolasco said that healthcare workers want to be assured about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine that will be given to them.

However, she pointed out that it is still the individual’s decision whether to be inoculated or not regardless of the efficacy rate of the vaccine.

She said nurses' group FNU still doesn’t have an official stand on vaccination for medical frontliners as they wait for the official guideline that mandates the prioritization of health workers.

“At this point, it is just an announcement. It is a positive announcement, but there is no definite guideline yet,” Nolasco said.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Monday that the initial batch of 50,000 doses from China's Sinovac will be allotted for medical frontliners based in Metro Manila.

Brazilian researchers reported that CoronaVac is just more than 50% effective based on trial data.