The vaccination of economic frontliners (A4) and indigent population (A5) have been approved by the national government and it could start immediately after this month, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. revealed on Tuesday, May 18.
Galvez, vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said their recommendation to start the vaccination of A4 and A5 priorities will help speed up the vaccination program.
“Nais ko rin po i-anunsyo sa publiko na ang ating gabinete ay inaprubahan na ang ating rekomendasyon na simulan na ang pagbabakuna ng mga kababayan na nasa A4 at A5 na kategorya pagkatapos ng buwan ng Mayo o kapag nagkaroon na tayo ng steady na supply (I also want to announce to the public that the government has approved our recommendation to start the vaccination of our people belonging to the A4 and A5 categories after the month of May or if we have already secured a steady supply),” said Galvez at a virtual press briefing on Tuesday, May 18.
The exact date of the opening of the vaccination for the A4 and A5 priority sectors will be announced next week, he added. The vaccine cluster of the Department of Health will issue the guidelines for the vaccination of the economic frontliners and indigent population.
In a separate meeting with President Duterte on Monday night, Galvez said the recommendation to include economic frontliners and poor people in the simultaneous vaccination was backed by the business sector, different Cabinet officials, and members of the Senate.
“We need to prioritize the poor population,” Galvez told Duterte.
A total of 12 million people are the targeted population for the economic frontliners including market vendors, logistics and transportation workers, media workers, frontline workers in banks, laborers in food delivery and retail, frontline personnel in education sector, and government workers.
Meanwhile, there are 16 million targeted individuals who belong in the indigent population, Galvez said.
At present, the government is prioritizing the inoculation of frontline healthcare workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), and persons with co-morbidities (A3).
Galvez said the vaccines that will be used for the inoculation of economic frontliners will come from the procurement of the government while the jabs to be used for indigent population will come from the COVAX facility.
“Ito po ay dito lang po sa sinasabi nating ‘NCR Plus 8’ (This is only applicable in the areas included in the ‘NCR Plus 8’),” said Galvez, referring to the “focus areas” of the vaccination program.
These focus areas are the National Capital Region, the six areas surrounding it namely Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal; as well as Cebu in Visayas and Davao in Mindanao.
For the rest of May, Galvez said there are four million vaccine doses that will be delivered.
These include 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines from China which will arrive on Thursday, May 20. Meanwhile, 2.2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine donations through the Covax facility and 1.3 million doses of Sputnik V from Russia will also be delivered within the month.
In June, Galvez said more than 10 million doses are expected to be delivered by different sources.
These include two million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines bought by the government; another 1.3 million doses procured by the private sector; 4.5 million doses of Sinovac; 250,000 doses of Moderna; and two million doses of Sputnik V.
The current vaccine supply stands at 7,779,050.