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IATF puts governors, mayors 2nd in line for COVID-19 vaccine priority
A health worker shows syringes filled with Pfizer vaccine as they administer the first dose to those belonging to A1 (medical frontliners), A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (persons with comorbidity) categories during their continuation of vaccination program for San Juaneños at FilOil Flying V Centre (San Juan Arena) on May 12, 2021.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

IATF puts governors, mayors 2nd in line for COVID-19 vaccine priority

(Philstar.com) - May 17, 2021 - 4:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday said local chief executives will now be part of a new priority group in the government's COVID-19 vaccination program.

The coronavirus task force's move places politicians under "A1.5," next only to health workers and above senior citizens, who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

It came after the League of Cities of the Philippines made the appeal for governors and mayors to be included in the A1 group, per a report by The STAR.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a briefing sought to explain that it is local chief executives who carry out pandemic-related curbs, including lockdowns.

"They are our instruments in the fight against COVID-19," he said, partly in Filipino. "They may not be doctors but they are equally frontliners because in all our strategies it is them who implement it."

Vaccinations in the country began in March, and efforts are still on health workers, the elderly as well as those with comorbidities.

The government has faced calls and criticism along the way to ramp up daily inoculation if it looks to vaccinate 50 to 70 million this year and achieve herd immunity. 

In the previous months, local officials figured in vaccine-related controversy when some jumped in the line to get their jab.

Such had led the World Health Organization to repeat its warning that failure to follow the priority list could risk the country's share of vaccines in the COVAX facility.

By April 1, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said 13 officials, or 11 mayors, a governor and a councilor were summoned over the issue.

Despite summons and calls to explain, no one has been held accountable to date. — Christian Deiparine

Related video:

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES LOCAL CHIEF EXECUTIVES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 15, 2021 - 12:23pm

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

June 15, 2021 - 12:23pm

Japan is donating AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines, Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko announces on his Twitter account.

"[W]e'll make sure to deliver them at the soonest possible time so no one gets left behind during this pandemic," he also says.

June 11, 2021 - 12:13pm

Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo says that as far as he knows all of the sitting justices of the Supreme Court have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

He says the court asked for justices to be classified as A4. Some of the justices are also already senior citizens.

June 10, 2021 - 8:58pm

More than 2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from the Covax facility arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Thursday night.

More than 200,000 doses will be distributed to Cebu and Davao while the remaining doses are for Metro Manila.

June 10, 2021 - 7:48am

Another 1 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine have arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Vaccination of economic frontliners, or workers in the A4 category, kicked off this month.

June 7, 2021 - 10:21am

The government marks the rollout of vaccines for the A4, or economic frontliners, category with a ceremony at a mall in Pasay City.

Around 35 million Filipinos are in the priority group, which has been expanded to include all who are required to physically report to work.

Pandemic restrictions have seen some Filipinos shift to remote work or work-from-home arrangements but many employees, especially those in the service sector, do not have that option.

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