Gov't specifies workers eligible for A4 vaccination, 'NCR Plus 8' goes first

The Philippine government has specified that workers who will qualify for the A4 vaccine priority category are those who have to work outside their residences or are government workers.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced on Friday, May 28, these specifications as formalized by Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution No. 117.

The narrowed-down definition of economic frontliners comes as the government gears up to vaccinate this sector of the population in June.

The following are the workers who are considered part of A4:

  • Private sector employees who are required to work outside their places of residence
  • Employees of government agencies, government corporations, and local government units
  • Informal sector workers who are self-employed who may be required to work outside their residences, and those in private households

Roque also announced that local governments are allowed to prioritize vaccinating economic frontliners who are aged 40 to 59 years old.

Previously, the government identified several sectors or industries whose workers would qualify under the A4 category since these are establishments deemed essential for the economy. The new guidelines mean the A4 category has been expanded to include all workers, regardless of sector or industry, as long as they work outside their houses.

Mass A4 vaccinations to begin in 'NCR Plus 8'

As part of the government's strategy to focus limited COVID-19 vaccines to places with high infections and significant economic impact, Roque announced that the IATF decided to start A4 vaccinations only in the following areas:

  • Metro Manila
  • Bulacan
  • Pampanga
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Batangas
  • Rizal
  • Metro Cebu
  • Metro Davao

These nine are have been called collectively as "NCR Plus 8."

Ramp up vaccinations of health workers, elderly

But even as the government prepares to vaccinate economic frontliners, the task force emphasized the importance of covering more of the previous priority groups in the immunization program.

These refer to medical workers (A1), elderly (A2), and persons with comorbidities (A3).

To do this, the IATF-EID has asked local governments to establish "special lanes" or dedicated vaccination centers for health workers, senior citizens, and other vulnerable groups.

While most of the country's 1.8 million healthcare workers have already received their first jab, only 1.2 million of the roughly 8 million senior citizens in the country have gotten their first dose. ā€“ Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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