In addition to face masks and physical distancing, we now also have vaccines to count on for our protection against COVID-19. Still, to get inoculated would take a considerable amount of time, especially if you’re far down the COVID-19 vaccination priority list in the Philippines.
The Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group and the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group have previously approved prioritising healthcare workers, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, and other frontliners.
That being said, if you’re a Philippine citizen who doesn’t belong to any of the above categories, how long do you have to wait before you can get vaccinated?
Introducing the Philippine vaccine queue calculator
The answer is found in the new, proudly Filipino-made Philippine vaccine queue calculator. Co-developed by civil engineer Kenneth Alambra and researcher Reina Sagnip, this online application can estimate how far you are in the vaccination queue.
It can also tell the time it could take before you can get your COVID-19 vaccine doses.
“It’s great that we now have COVID vaccines that have been approved for general use. However, that’s not the end of the COVID story just yet,” Alambra and Sagnip said via the vaccine queue calculator’s website. The application is officially known as the Omni Calculator.
“Millions of doses of vaccines now have to be produced and injected into the arms of people. That is one massive manufacturing, logistical, and time-consuming task for everyone involved. It is all going to take time.”
The vaccine queue calculator developers said that they based the tool on the data provided by The Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines for the priority list.
They also looked at the likely vaccination rate to achieve the government’s target of vaccinating 50% to 70% of the adult population in 2021. To do this, 1,274,980 doses would have to be administered each week.
How to use the vaccine queue calculator
To find out where you are in the vaccination queue and when you are likely to be vaccinated, first, go to the Omni Calculator website. Then, follow these next steps as specifically enumerated by Alambra and Sagnip:
- Enter your age in years. Senior citizens or those 60 years old and above will be called up sooner than younger ones to have the vaccine.
- However, if you are a “frontline health worker”, you will be prioritised more because you are likely to have a lot of exposure to the virus and need to be protected. Answer yes to this field if you are currently an active frontline health worker.
- If you have any comorbidities like hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, any cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, stroke, or cancer, to name a few, answer yes to the persons with comorbidities field.
- Are you classed as a non-health frontline essential personnel falling under A4 priority group or other workers under priority eligible group B? Answer these fields appropriately.
- The Philippine government also prioritises people in high-risk areas where the population is dense. Please indicate if you are a part of the indigent population as determined by the government, a person with disability, or part of the sociodemographic groups at significantly higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Once you’ve made it through these criteria, the vaccine queue calculator will show you the number of people in front of you in the queue. Along with this is how long it will take before you can get both of your required COVID-19 vaccine doses based on the rate mentioned earlier.
“We also considered a default uptake rate of 56% (because not everyone asked to receive the vaccine will accept it),” added the developers. “We based this figure on a survey conducted in February 2021.”
All images credited to the Department of Health (Philippines).