Since the start of the Philippines’ mass vaccination program in March, over a million vaccines have been administered to Filipinos to fight COVID-19. However, slow rollout and low vaccination rates in the country prove that the population still has a long way to go before it can achieve herd immunity to end the pandemic.
So far, the vaccines available and given in the Philippines are Sinovac and AstraZeneca. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin have also been approved for emergency use. Other vaccines expected to arrive in the coming months are Moderna, Gamaleya’s Sputnik V, Novavax, and those from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX facility. With these incoming vaccines, the government is expected to ramp up inoculation by the second half of the year to inoculate at least 50 to 70 million Filipinos within 2021.
Despite the variety of safe and effective options available to the public, and the numerous endorsements from health experts and authorities, public anxiety over vaccines persists. And while certain risks may cause concern, the vaccine’s benefits far outweigh them.
Recent data has shown that the four leading countries in terms of vaccination have succeeded in flattening or decreasing cases after inoculating over 40% of their population. In Israel, severe cases and deaths declined rapidly after more than 84% of its elderly population were fully vaccinated in February. This has allowed their authorities to ease up on previous restrictions and for the public to now go mask-free.
“All is well” in building immunity against COVID
At present, Allianz PNB Life is one with the Filipino people in fighting COVID-19. “COVID-19 has posed many different challenges to people’s health and finances. Much like the vaccines available now, Allianz Well! is a timely offer that can protect people from the effects of the pandemic, including but not limited to COVID-19,” said CEO Alexander Grenz.
Through Allianz Well!, customers can get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available from a preferred healthcare provider. Its Wellness Benefit covers up to Php 10,000 yearly and allows reimbursement for vaccines up to this amount. On top of a quick and easy claims process, the policy fully covers hospitalization and emergency care for COVID-19, along with cancer treatment, dialysis, and organ transplant.
It also offers convenient and reliable care with unlimited, 24/7 expert telemedicine consultation. With an annual plan limit of Php 100 million that’s one of the highest in the country today, it can supplement any existing HMO so you can get treated whenever and wherever by your chosen provider.
“Our policy is tailored to ensure that Filipinos get the best and most comprehensive kind of coverage,” said Grenz. “This is our way of saying that all is well and all should be well because Allianz is with them during COVID-19 and beyond.”
To help ease worries surrounding vaccination, below are answers by the World Health Organization, Department of Health, and Philippine General Hospital to some of the frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine:
- What is vaccine efficacy?
Vaccine efficacy is the effectiveness of a vaccine in controlled trials. WHO requires vaccines to have an efficacy rate of at least 50% and ensures they undergo rigorous testing and screening before they are approved. For example, a vaccine with a 50% rate reduces your chances of contracting COVID-19 by 45%. So far, all approved vaccines are 100% effective in preventing severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19.
- Does the COVID-19 vaccine have any side effects?
Side effects are common not just in vaccines but other prescription and over-the-counter drugs too. Side effects from vaccines indicate that the body is starting to protect you from the virus. Common ones include fatigue, body pains, fever, chills, and nausea which last only a few days.
- Who cannot take the vaccine?
Only those who show allergic response to the vaccine after the first dose or its certain components from past treatments should not take it. Individuals who are allergic to other vaccines, immunocompromised, and/or pregnant or breastfeeding mothers with comorbidities should consult their doctor before getting vaccinated. The same goes for those receiving steroids, anticoagulation therapy, and/or antibody-based COVID-19 therapy.
Before taking any important steps regarding your health, it is always best to consult a medical professional. Allianz urges everyone to stay well, informed, and future-proof through the pandemic.