Consulate assures vacationing OFWs on measles vaccination
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) vacationing in the Philippines this summer have nothing to be worried about being required to have anti-measles shots before returning to Hong Kong, the Philippine Consulate General said.
Consul Paul Saret, head of the PCG-Assistance to Nationals Section, said the consulate received a letter from HK Food and Health Secretary Elizabeth Tse on Sunday and it said that the health department was only “advising” foreign domestic helpers to get vaccinated.
“Nakatanggap tayo ng sulat galing sa health secretary na sinasabi po ay inaadvisan lang naman po na, yung first time na pupunta dito, sana po ay magbakuna at yung mga uuwi namaan po, bago daw po bumalik, ay magpabakuna sa Pilipinas,” Saret said during a forum at the PCG on March 31.
“Wala namang sinabi na kailangan makapagpresent ng evidence or proof (ng vaccination) bago papasukin (ulit sa HK),” he said.
“So dahil po dito sa sulat na ito, categorically po sinasabi natin hindi po compulsory (ang anti-measles vaccination) at hindi po kailagan makapagpresent ng proof (pagpasok ulit ng HK),” he added.
But Saret said that the consulate was also advising OFWs who had not been vaccinated against measles to get their shots.
“Since kailangan din nating mag-ingat—sabi nga health is wealth at ayaw natin makahawa sa iba pang mga tao—kung hindi pa nabakunahan at uuwi po tayo, magpabakuna na rin dun. Kung sinong may kakilala na first timer na pupunta dito, advisan na rin sila na magpabakuna,” he said.
Saret said the PCG was still trying to set a meeting with HK immigration, labour, and health officials about to find out who should pay for the vaccination of FDHs.
“Sana po whether kung saan man magpabakuna, mangyari sana sagutin ng employer kasi po additional burden ito sa ating mga kababayan—yung expense para sa bakuna,” he said.
Saret said Secretary Tse informed the consulate that Hong Kong had monitored at least 30 cases of measles, and six of them “had travel history to the Philippines.” Four of these cases involved Filipino domestic workers.
“Pero hindi naman tayo inaakusahan na ‘Dahil sa inyo….’ Ano lang…Very civil yung pagkakasabi na merong 30 cases na nareport sa Centre for Health Protection of Hong Kong and among the 30, six patients had travel history to the Philippines, including five daw po na Filipinos and then four of them are FDHs,” he said.
“Pero sabi ko nga po, wala naman po lumalapit sa ating (OFW) na basically humihingi ng tulong tungkol dit so I suppose yung medical care ay provided naman within their employment,” he added.