APPARENTLY A PHILHEALTH PIN IS REQUIRED BEFORE GETTING A VACCINE–THE INTERNET ASKS ‘HOW ABOUT THE POOR?’
Although utilizing a unique identifier is important in rolling out the vaccines, what happens to the millions of Filipinos who cannot afford to acquire one?
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Philippines, the country is hanging on to dear life on the vaccine’s possible immunization for hope. For over a year now, it has been the lifeline urging Filipinos forward, with the government’s assured promise that the vaccine is the answer we’re all waiting for that would finally lead us back to normalcy. But now that they’re here, it seems that another big challenge to overcome is to figure out how it’s going to be distributed among private citizens with fairness and transparency.
With news of non-essential officials line jumping, restrictions placed on the private sector, and now, the reported need for a Philhealth PIN when acquiring a vaccine, Filipinos are growing aggravated with how unfair everything seems to be, especially for poor and vulnerable communities.
The most recent addition to the list came on March 30, as Philhealth, the government’s health insurance corporation, released a statement requiring everyone to present their Philhealth PIN before receiving their vaccine shot. This is to ensure each person’s unique identification and to avoid duplicates.
However, many accused this requirement as being anti-poor as many Filipinos, especially ones who are unemployed, homeless, or those who simply never found a need for it, may not have the means to acquire a PIN for themselves, and their whole families. After promises from the government that every Filipino will have access to the vaccine, many are confused and enraged at this new development.
How can there be equitable access to vaccines if you will be requiring PhilHealth ID number?
This is very anti-poor. All Filipinos whose age group are qualified to receive the vaccines should get it for FREE and without any additional requirement. pic.twitter.com/FsV0O70wdt
— United Frontliners PH (@frontliners_ph) March 30, 2021
Just want to remind PhilHealth that we are hoping for an effective, efficient and accessible vaccine for all the people regardless of social condition.
Huwag ng pahirapan yung ating mga kababayan. Kaya please, stop implementing the "No PIN, No VACCINE" policy.
— Deo Enalpe ???????? (@deoenalpe_phl) March 30, 2021
Moreover, if select communities won’t have access to the vaccine, other people’s inoculation might prove to be pointless as there will still be millions of citizens in danger of getting infected. If that’s the case, we might never be able to attain herd immunity and enter the real “post-COVID” world.
After receiving massive backlash from the internet as a reaction to Philhealth’s statement, the Department of Health (DOH) issued its own official announcement to provide clarifications on the former’s claims. According to the DOH, the Philhealth ID Number will NOT be required for COVID-19 vaccination. It will only be necessary for those who wish to acquire further benefits with the institution.
DOH says PhilHealth ID number is not required for COVID-19 vaccination. It will only be required when claiming benefits in case of adverse event following immunization. @ABSCBNNews pic.twitter.com/TOXCxuyS47
— Kristine Sabillo ???????? (@kristinesabillo) March 30, 2021
Although this statement provides some much needed clarity on the issue, questions are now arising on what would happen to Filipinos without a Philhealth PIN after being inoculated. Hopefully these concerns would finally be addressed in full soon, so that more and more people could finally receive the vaccines we’ve all been waiting and pining for.
If there’s one takeaway from this whole incident, it’s that the Philippines could only be safe and COVID-free if all Filipinos would be given the necessary protection from the virus.