PASAY CITY — Some 50 workers belonging to various economic sectors received their first dose of COVID vaccine today, June 7, 2021, as part of the symbolic vaccination of the Priority Group A4, signaling the start of mass vaccination for workers in both formal and informal sectors.
In a press briefing that followed the said event held at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. said that the vaccination of the A4 group was launched as more vaccine doses are expected to arrive this June.
“Ayon sa NTF, mahigit na sampung milyon na iba’t ibang anti-COVID vaccine brands ang inaasahan nating darating ngayon buwan,” said Sec. Roque.
This includes the one million doses of Sinovac vaccines that arrived yesterday, June 6. “Kabilang ito sa 5.5-M doses ng Sinovac na inaasahan nating ma-deliver ngayong Hunyo,” Sec. Roque said.
Aside from the Sinovac vaccine, National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said that vaccines from the COVAX for this month is also expected to increase, with 4.2 million doses expected to be delivered from the said facility for this month. Sec. Galvez also disclosed that some 30 to 40 million doses of vaccines are expected for the months of June, July, and August, which is expected to cover the vaccination of A4 and A5 priority groups.
“Sino ba ho ang bumubuo ng A4 o eligible para maging A4? Sila ay ang mga worker sa pampubliko at pribadong sektor, mga nasa informal sector, kasama ang mga self-employed at mga nagtatrabaho sa mga pribadong pamamahay,” explained Sec. Roque.
The Palace official and concurrent spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) further added that there are two categories under A4: those who need to physically report to work and those who needed to be deployed or assigned to do field work.
The IATF has recently approved the expanded A4 list and the initial distribution rollout for the said priority group, which will initially focus on the National Capital Region (NCR) plus 8 composed of Metro Manila, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.
With more than 35 million workers expected to be inoculated as part of A4, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez welcomed the start of the A4 vaccination and emphasized that with the expanded A4 definition, practically all workers will have a chance to be vaccinated. Secretary Lopez added that with A4 workers vaccinated, economic improvement can proceed and that there is a chance to achieve the target of 500,000 jabs a day with the A4 group since it is a wide sector.
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairperson Benjamin Abalos Jr. assured that local government units (LGUs) in the NCR are more than ready to start the vaccination of the A4 group along with the priority groups A1 to A3. Chair Abalos also mentioned the many innovations of LGUs in ensuring that their constituents get vaccinated, including going house-to-house to encourage them to register and get vaccinated, and also providing express lanes for those belonging under A1 to A3 priority groups.
LGU host for the event, Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano affirmed Chair Abalos’ statement on LGU efforts, saying that the Pasay LGU has been doing aggressive efforts to get people to be vaccinated. Mayor Rubiano said that aside from social media posts, they also use public address systems in barangays to remind people to adhere to the minimum health protocols, as well as a barker system that goes around the city to remind people to get vaccinated or to have their second dose.
For those who missed their schedule for their second dose, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are still eligible to receive their second jab and that they only need to coordinate with their LGU’s health office to have another schedule. Secretary Duque stressed that only getting the first dose will not give optimum protection, as individuals need to complete their second dose to be protected against severe and critical COVID and to avoid hospitalization and death.
For the part of the private sector, several business leaders pledged their commitment to provide a quick and efficient mass rollout of the vaccination program for A4 workers, together with local government unit chiefs of the NCR plus 8. Margot Torres, Managing Director of McDonald’s Philippines said that the vaccination of A4 workers is very important for the private sector as their workers will now be given the opportunity to be vaccinated. Torres also pledged that the private sector would continue to support the IATF and the NTF in terms of demand generation by educating their employees on the importance of getting vaccinated. (OPS-PCOO)