Vaccination of economic frontline workers begins in the Philippines

Some local government units (LGU) in Metro Manila hit the ground running on Monday, June 7, once the government gave the green light for the vaccinations of economic frontline workers.

Before Monday, only select sectors were allowed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine since the country began its immunization drive in March, such as health workers, mayors and governors, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.

In Pasay, the national government held a symbolic vaccination of around 50 people, including a fast food worker, truck driver, two celebrities, and a journalist.

“The vaccination of those from the A4 sector is significant because they make up the backbone of the economy,” Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano said in her speech during the ceremonial rollout of the vaccines for economic frontline workers at the SM Mall of Asia.

Parañaque also kicked off the vaccination drive for A4 recipients at the SM City Sucat, with Mayor Edwin Olivarez and city health officer Dr. Olga Virtusio gracing the event.

In Navotas, the first to get the jab among A4 recipients was 59-year-old Jose Abrenio Jr., division chief of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, June 6, Mayor Toby Tiangco said walk-ins were allowed on Monday, but only in the afternoon. A first-come, first-served basis was also implemented.

In Mandaluyong, drivers and vendors were among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose on Monday. Mayor Menchie Abalos was also present during the rollout.

Manila, meanwhile, began the vaccination of economic frontline workers on Tuesday, June 8. Some 3,200 out of the over 4,400 vaccine doses administered that day were to members of the A4 priority group.

Some 2,500 people under the A4 priority group also received a vaccine dose on the first day of inoculations of economic frontline workers in San Juan on Tuesday.

Workers who are considered part of the A4 priority group include:

  • private sector employees in these sectors who are required to work outside their places of residence;
  • employees of government agencies, government corporations, and local government units; and
  • informal sector workers who are self-employed who may be required to work outside their residences, and those in private households.

The government's strategy is to begin the A4 vaccinations in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao, collectively known as "NCR Plus 8."

As of May 30, 1.2 million Filipinos were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, out of 3.9 million individuals who have received their first dose. — Rappler.com