‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ seen as more vax doses arrive

‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ seen as more vax doses arrive

MANILA – The Philippines is close to beating the Covid-19 pandemic with the arrival of more Covid-19 vaccine doses “in bulks” and the start of vaccination for economic front-liners or those belonging to the A4 priority category, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday.

Duterte made this remark in a taped message aired Monday during the symbolic vaccination of workers under the A4 category at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“I am pleased to join you today as we mark a major milestone in our battle against Covid-19. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccine shipments have arrived, have started to arrive in bulks,” Duterte said.

He said the vaccination of economic front-liners is the result of the national government’s aggressive efforts to secure sufficient doses from different manufacturers.

“With the start of our mass vaccination, the A4 priority category are workers in both public and private sector will have an added layer of protection against the disease,” he added.

Duterte also reminded those who have received their jabs to continue observing minimum public health standards.

“To my dear kababayans, let us keep in mind that vaccination is the only way forward for us to overcome this pandemic. But we must also remember that getting vaccinated is not the only solution. We must continue to observe minimum public health standards by wearing a mask, washing our hands, and observing social distancing,” he added.

Game-changer

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, for his part, described the vaccination of economic front-liners as the start of the country’s step toward economic recovery.

“Dahil dito ang pagbabakuna sa A4 ay masasabi nating game-changer sa ating laban dito sa Covid-19. Layunin natin na ligtas na makapaghanapbuhay ang ating mga mangagagawa. Ito rin ang magsisiguro na kahit nandiyan ang coronavirus ay hindi masisira o matitigil ang serbisyo ng ating pamahalaan (Because of this, the A4 vaccination can be considered as game-changer in our fight against Covid-19. We aim to ensure that our workers can work safely. This will also ensure that even if the coronavirus is there, our government service will not be hampered),” he said.

Economic front-liners who are scheduled for vaccination simply have to show their company identification (ID) as a requirement for vaccination.

“I think office ID, work ID would suffice. Kasi ngayon ang (Because now, the) definition ng A4 is broad enough to include anyone who works outside of his home. A work ID would be sufficient,” he said.

Under Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 117, those eligible for vaccination under the A4 category 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.

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

The A4 priority group will be focused on approximately 13 million additional workers in Metro Manila and other areas (NCR Plus 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 Plus 8, bringing the total estimate to 35.5 million.

Those belonging to the A1 to A3 priority groups may continue getting vaccinated against Covid-19.

The NCR Plus 8 area is composed of Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal.

The country has so far received over 9 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine after 1 million additional Sinovac jabs arrived on Sunday. (PNA)

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