The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday announced that vital signs screening will no longer be included to speed up the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination process. 

The recommendation came from the Philippine Society of Hypertension and the Philippine Heart Association, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. 

In this new guideline, health workers will only need to closely monitor people with established hypertension or organ damage prior to vaccination.

“Naglagay din tayo diyan sa guidelines natin that there should be a separate lane para dito sa mga taong gusto nating obserbahan because of their established history ng kanilang mga sakit para hindi sila nakakadagdag do’n sa pila,” Vergeire said in a briefing.

A Department of Health study found that vital signs screening and people walking into vaccination centers were the reasons for the long queues, slowing the roll out of the vaccines, said Vergeire.

“Marami sa ating kababayan, very eager sila magpabakuna na kahit hindi sila ‘yung scheduled for that day, they go to the vaccination sites,” she explained.

Vergeire noted public confidence in Covid-19 vaccines has increased, citing the DOH survey conducted on March 19 to 30. 

“Nakita po natin ‘yung pagtaas talaga ng kumpiyansa ng ating mga kababayan no’ng nakita nilang marami na ring nababakunahan,” Vergeire said.

She reported that 75% of respondents said they would get inoculated if a vaccine is available and 85.5% would get a jab if they knew that vaccines were safe and effective. Prior to the start of the vaccination campaign, the same figures stood at 60%.

Over 2 million people in the Philippines already got vaccinated against the virus that causes Covid-19 as of May 11, still far from the target of inoculating 50 million to 70 million people this year to reach herd immunity. Ronald dela Cruz