The national government has officially started the vaccine roll-out of the A4 priority sector or the economic and government frontliners on Monday, June 7, at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
Fifty individuals from various sectors including education, tourism, transportation, mass media, service, and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry received their first dose of the vaccine during a commitment ceremony and symbolic vaccination of the A4 priority sector.
The phase 1 roll-out initially covers the “NCR Plus 8” or the National Capital Region, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao as these areas have high number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The phase 2 will be opened to A4 in areas outside the NCR Plus 8 and this will commence once the supply further increases in the coming weeks.
Under the A4 group, those qualified to be vaccinated were expanded into workers in the private sector, government officials, and workers in the informal sector including those who are employed in private households.
Since the vaccine supply is still limited, the government advised the local government units (LGUs) to prioritize individuals who are 40 to 59 years old in the A4 category, to be followed by individuals 18 to 39 years old.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said the vaccination of the A4 priority sector would pave the way for the re-opening of the economy. An estimated 35 million people are included in the said sector.
“Kayo pong lahat ay maituturing na mga bayani dahil sa sipag, dedikasyon, at tapang na inyong ipinamalas sa harap ng krisis na pangkalusugan na ito. Hindi matutumbasan ang pagod, hirap, at sakripisyo na inyong ginagawa para sa inyong mga pamilya at sa ating komunidad (All of you can be considered heroes because of your diligence, dedication, and bravery in facing this health crisis. Your effort and sacrifice for your family and for the community is incomparable),” he said.
“Kaya naman po dapat lamang na mabigyan ang ating mga manggagawa ng karagdagang proteksyon laban sa COVID-19. Ang mga bakunang ito ay magsisilbing inyong pangunahing panaganggalang laban sa sakit (That is why it is just right to give our workers with an added protection against COVID-19. These vaccines will serve as your primary shield against this disease),” he added.
Among the first vaccinees under the A4 category were celebrity couple Iya Villania and Drew Arellano. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III personally administered the vaccine to them.
Aside from the symbolic vaccination, local chief executives from the NCR Plus 8 also participated in a commitment ceremony to heed the call of President Duterte to provide a quick and efficient mass rollout of the vaccination program to the A4 sector.