Gov’t prioritizing vaccination of Filipinos here for the meantime

Published January 28, 2021, 3:16 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is committed to prioritize the coronavirus vaccination of Filipinos in the country over those staying abroad for the meantime.

(Photo by Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP)

According to presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the government has already readied its vaccination plan, including how the vaccines will be distributed to Filipinos including those living in far-flung areas in the country.

“Ang plano natin sa ngayon ang ‘yung Pilipinong nasa Pilipinas (Our plan for now is to vaccinate Filipinos staying in the Philippines),” Roque said during a televised briefing Thursday, when asked about the possible vaccination of Filipinos overseas.

“Pero huwag naman tayo mag-alala dahil ang alam ko ‘yung iba’t-ibang bansa ay binabakunahan ang lahat lang naman (But do not worry because I know that different countries are vaccinating everyone),” he said.

An estimated 10 million Filipinos are living abroad, around three million of which are temporary migrants or overseas Filipino workers.

As of Jan. 23, authorities reported that around 417,542 Filipino workers have already returned to the country in the wake of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the P82.5 billion vaccination plan, the government plans to give free inoculations to 60 to 70 percent of the country’s population to achieve herd immunity.

Around 24 million Filipinos, including health workers, seniors, poor citizens, and uniformed personnel, will be given priority in the immunization drive.

So far, the government has booked 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Serum Institute of India and Novovax, 25 million from Sinovac, and around 20 million from AstraZeneca.

An additional 20 million doses of vaccines from Moderna will also be purchased by the government.

The country’s supply will be augmented by up to 40 million free vaccine doses from the COVAX facility, a global initiative to provide equitable access to vaccines.