Government Vaccination Roll Out To Focus On Areas With Highest Risk

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With the expected increase in the supply of vaccines beginning June 2021, the A4 priority group for the COVID-19 vaccination roll out has been expanded to include those who work outside their homes and government employees, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

The A4 group was formerly focused on economic front liners and personnel who have high levels of interaction with the public, and are needed to ensure security and consumer and worker safety.

“There is a high demand for vaccines from the economic sectors. As we are expecting an increase in the supply beginning June 2021, we are now able to expand the list to protect more workers. Vaccinating them will also help safeguard their families, our health gains, and our economic recovery,” – Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases adopted NEDA’s recommendation through Resolution No. 117. Citing data which shows that there is a high risk of exposure for workers living or working in areas with a dense population or dense economic activity, NEDA said it is important to accelerate vaccination in the National Capital Region (NCR)+8 (Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao).

“There is a high demand for vaccines from the economic sectors. As we are expecting an increase in the supply beginning June 2021, we are now able to expand the list to protect more workers. Vaccinating them will also help safeguard their families, our health gains, and our economic recovery,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua.

With the IATF approval of the expanded list, private sector workers who need to be physically present in their workplace; employees in government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) and local government units (LGUs); informal sector workers and self-employed individuals who work outside their homes; and those working in private households are now included in the A4 priority group.

The first phase of vaccine deployment for the expanded A4 group will be focused on approximately 13 million additional workers in NCR+8 since these areas make up majority of COVID-19 cases in the country.

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

NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie G. Edillon stressed that stronger engagement with establishments, agencies and organizations (EAOs) is needed to facilitate vaccine deployment to the A4 priority groups and get us closer our target of inoculating 70 million adult Filipinos by year-end.

“We enjoin EAOs to work closely with us and help reach and vaccinate as many A4 group members as possible. The EAOs may organize vaccination of their A4-eligible workers in their offices or workplaces,” Edillon said.

Meanwhile, healthcare workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities—or those belonging to the A1, A2, and A3 groups, respectively—will continue to be prioritized for the vaccination program.

“Vaccines from the Covax Facility will be used only for the A1, A2, and A3 categories, as well as for the A5 group or the indigent population, to ensure equitable access to vaccines especially among the most vulnerable,” Edillon affirmed.

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