Gov't to start vaccinating 'A4' priority group in June

By Azer Parrocha

May 31, 2021, 2:36 pm

<p><em>File photo</em></p>

File photo

MANILA – The national government will start vaccinating qualified individuals under the A4 priority group including those who work outside their homes and government workers in June.

“Sa buwan ng Hunyo din sisimulan ang pagbabakuna ng A4 priority group (The vaccination of the A4 priority group will also begin in June),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing on Monday.

Under Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 117, those eligible for vaccination include private sector workers required to be physically present at their workplace outside their residences; employees in government agencies and instrumentalities; and informal sector workers and self-employed who may be required to work outside their residences, and those working in private households.

Roque said local government units (LGUs) may prioritize vaccinating economic front-liners aged 40 to 59 years old.

Citing government data, Roque said the A4 priority group will be focused on approximately 13 million additional workers in Metro Manila and other areas in NCR Plus 8, the areas that make up the majority of Covid-19 cases in the country. These areas are Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal.

Another 22.5 million workers will subsequently be included from areas outside NCR Plus 8, bringing the total estimate to 35.5 million.

He encouraged those belonging to A1 to A3 priority groups to also get vaccinated against Covid-19 and refrain from being choosy over vaccine brands.

“Ang pinakabisang bakuna ay ang available na bakuna (The most effective vaccine is the vaccine that is available),” he said.

As of Sunday, the Philippines has administered over 5 million Covid-19 doses since it began its vaccine rollout on March 1.

The country now has four brands of Covid-19 vaccines in its inventory namely Sinovac’s CoronaVac (China), AstraZeneca (UK), Sputnik V (Russia), and Pfizer (US).

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier revised its target to inoculate 50 to 60 percent of the population with a concentration in Metro Manila, two other cities, and six provinces instead of its initial 70 percent of Filipinos.

DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje earlier said the government will now aim for “population protection” against Covid-19 while waiting for more vaccines. (PNA)