‘Economic frontliners’ to be among the first recipients of COVID-19 vaccines – Galvez

Published February 2, 2021, 8:14 AM

by Raymund Antonio

The Philippines is set to vaccinate the country’s “economic frontliners,” or those in the food industries and social services, by the second quarter of the year, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Monday night.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

During President Duterte’s televised weekly address to the public, the official said that the recommendation came from the Metro Manila mayors.

“And we are recommending in the second quarter, sir (referring to President Duterte), we should include in our (priority list), our recommendation: the protection of priority sectors, institutions. These include, sir, the economic frontliners,” Galvez said.

“This is the recommendation of our (Metro) Manila mayors because we can see as you say, the drivers in food and industries, in the services—the social services, at the same time the life support services, need to protect them.”

The official noted that these groups come also from the impoverished sector of society, and that the local government units are pushing for their inclusion in the government’s priority list once the rollout of the vaccine starts.

Galvez clarified that the health care workers will still be the first in the priority list as they are the most vulnerable to the vaccine.

“They will also lead the government’s vaccination program, so they should be protected from the virus or else “our healthcare system will collapse,” he said.

The government’s order of priority in the vaccination plan are frontline health care workers, senior citizens, indigent population, uniformed personnel, and other vulnerable groups.

The first tranche of the vaccines, believed to be China’s Sinovac, is scheduled to arrive in February.

Galvez said the “full rollout” of the vaccines will arrive in the third and fourth quarters of this year. But in the second quarter, the official added that they are pushing manufacturers, specifically Novavax and AstraZeneca, to deliver vaccine doses.

The government is planning to purchase around 148 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from various manufacturers for the inoculation of some 70 million Filipinos this year.