Philippines starts vaccinating economic frontliners vs COVID-19

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines starts vaccinating economic frontliners vs COVID-19
Television personality Iya Villania was among the individuals who received a COVID-19 jab during a symbolic vaccination activity at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City on June 7, 2021.
Screengrab from PTV livestream

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines finally started on Monday the vaccination of the working population, or economic frontliners, against COVID-19.

About 35 million Filipinos belong to the fourth priority group, which is composed of workers in the government, private and informal sectors.

Some 50 frontliners from the food, media and entertainment, transport, tourism, business process outsourcing, retail and government sectors will be inoculated at a “ceremonial” vaccination at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The vaccine rollout for the A4 priority group will initially focus on the so-called “centers of gravity” or densely-populated areas. These include Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Pampanga, Batangas, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.

But in a statement Sunday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said adjustments will be also made based on the situation in other areas that are experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases.

Recovery from devastation

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said by giving protection to workers, “our economy will quickly recover from the devastation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“With the start of our mass vaccination, the A4 priority category, our workers in both private and public sector will have an added layer of protection against the disease,” President Rodrigo Duterte said in a taped speech.

He added “we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel” as vaccine shipments have started to arrive in the country in bulk.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said around 10 million vaccine doses are expected to be delivered in the country this month, which can cover the inoculation of health workers, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, frontline workers and indigent Filipinos. 

Some 15 million more doses may arrive in August.

He earlier said the country is targeting to administer 500,000 jabs daily by the third quarter, and increase the goal to 740,000 shots to achieve population protection.

Since the vaccination drive was launched in March, only 1.3 million out of the country's roughly 100 million population have been fully inoculated against COVID-19. Some 5.3 million doses have been administered as of June 2. 

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