Philippines offers nurses in exchange for COVID-19 vaccines from Britain, Germany

The Philippines will let thousands of its healthcare workers, mostly nurses, take up jobs in the UK and Germany if the two countries agree to donate COVID-19 vaccines, a senior official said.

Britain’s health ministry said it was not interested in such a deal, and its priority was to use shots domestically, but said it would share surplus vaccine internationally in the future.

The Philippines, which has among Asia’s highest numbers of coronavirus cases, has relaxed a ban on deploying its healthcare workers overseas, but still limits the number of medical professionals leaving the country to 5,000 a year.

Alice Visperas, director of the labor ministry’s international affairs bureau, said the Philippines was open to lifting the cap in exchange for vaccines from Britain and Germany, which it would use to inoculate outbound workers and hundreds of thousands of Filipino repatriates.

In 2019, almost 17,000 Filipino nurses signed overseas work contracts.

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