POLO recommends that first-time OFWs in HK should get vaccinated vs measles

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MMR vaccine

THE Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) has recommended to Manila that overseas Filipino workers who are going
to be deployed to Hong Kong for the first time should get vaccinated against measles.

Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre said they recommended that “all HK-bound workers,” not just domestic workers,
should get vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).

“We recommended the MMR vaccination to be part of the pre-employment medical checks for newly-hired workers,” Dela Torre said.

He said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration had yet to reply to the proposal.

“But I think they have communicated with Philippine agencies,” he said.

Dela Torre said the POLO made the proposal after the HK Centre for Health Protection recommended vaccination against measles.

Consul Paul Saret, head of the Philippine Consulate General-Assistance to Nationals Section, said that the consulate also wanted to raise the issue of who should pay for the vaccine at the next technical working group meeting between officials of the consulate and the Hong
Kong government.

He said the meeting could happen during the third week of this month, adding that the PCG believes that employers should shoulder the cost of vaccination.

The consulate earlier assured vacationing OFWs that the health department was only “advising” vacationing 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 naman 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 kailangan 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 magingat—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.

The health department earlier said that six people from the Philippines developed measles in HK.

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