COVID-19 vaccines eyed for Boracay tourist workers

Published March 10, 2021, 12:58 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY—As vaccination against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has rolled out, officials are also eyeing free vaccines for workers at world-famous Boracay Island in Malay town, Aklan province.

Tourists and locals enjoy the white-sand beach of Boracay Island as travel restrictions have been eased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  (Tara Yap/File/Manila Bulletin)

Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista told Manila Bulletin there was a request for 40,000 doses of vaccines intended for workers of the country’s most famous beach destination.

Bautista explained that it was Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores who earlier made the request to Secretary Carlito Galvez, the chief implementer of the national government’s program against COVID-19.

The mayor said the governor wanted tourist workers to be also vaccinated, given the role Boracay Island plays in reviving the economy, which has been affected since the pandemic hit last year.

Last October 2020, Boracay was the first major destination the national government allowed to reopen to domestic tourists after strict travel restrictions were eased.

But there is no word yet if the request for the 40,000 doses of Chinese-made Sinovac has been approved by the national government.

Dr. Cornelio Cuachon Jr., chief of the Aklan Provincial Health Office (APHO), said Boracay Island is not yet included in the allocation of vaccines.

“The government’s priority is still health workers and other frontline workers,” Cuachon told Manila Bulletin in a separate interview.

The Department of Health (DOH) turned over 2,420 Sinovac vaccines to the Aklan provincial government Tuesday, March 9. This will be for Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH) in the capital town of Kalibo and other hospitals in the province.