Economic frontliners among possible beneficiaries of 1M Sinovac vaccine doses –Roque

Published March 26, 2021, 3:41 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The country’s economic frontliners could be among the early beneficiaries of the forthcoming supply of the coronavirus vaccines purchased by the government from a Chinese manufacturer.

(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque bared on Friday that the government might simultaneously distribute the 1 million doses of Sinovac vaccines to health workers as well as other frontline workers as soon as the supplies arrive in the country.

Roque said, however, it was prudent to wait for the final decision on the vaccine distribution by the task group in charge of the vaccination deployment program.

At least 1 million vaccine doses purchased by the Philippine government from China’s Sinovac are expected to be delivered to the country on March 29. President Duterte is expected to attend the turnover ceremony at the Manila airport.

“Hintayin po natin ang sasabihin ng NITAG (National Immunization Technical Advisory Group) kasi baka naman po kapag dumating na ‘yung 1 million na binili natin eh may plano po talaga na isabay na ‘yung mga economic frontliners na puwedeng kumuha ng Sinovac (Let’s wait for the decision of NITAC because when the 1 million doses we bought arrives in the country, there is a plan to simultaneously give the Sinovac vaccines to economic frontliners),” Roque said over government television.

Pending a decision from NITAG, Roque maintained that the country’s 1.7 million health workers remained the top priority in the vaccination drive. 

“Hanggang hindi natatapos ang 1.7 million sila pa rin po ang priority (Until we have not vaccines 1.7 million, they will remain the priority),” he said.

“Sa ngayon po, talagang health workers pa rin po nang sa gayon lahat ng health workers ay magkaroon option na magkaroon na ng bakuna na Sinovac (For now, it’s still the health workers so all health workers have the option to get the Sinovac vaccines),” he added.

In a meeting with President Monday, March 22, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.  suggested the simultaneous vaccination of priority groups to ensure the protection of more people from the coronavirus virus while moving to promote the country’s economic recovery.  He said the government could vaccinate health workers, seniors, and persons with comorbidities while private sector will handle the inoculation of frontline personnel in essential sectors.

At present, the country’s vaccine stocks reached 1.125 million doses, mostly donated by China and the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.

An additional 1 million Sinovac doses, procured by the Department of Health, will be arriving before the end of the month. The President recently said the loans secured from World Bank would be used for the payment of these vaccines.

 
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