'Light at the end of tunnel': Duterte says bulk shipments enable mass vaccination

Published June 7, 2021, 10:30 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The country has a reached a “major milestone” in the fight against the pandemic with the start of the mass vaccination, particularly the essential workers in the public and private sectors, President Duterte declared Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte holds a vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by Sinovac during the turnover of the Chinese-made vaccines in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on February 28, 2021. (Malacañang)

According to the President, the bulk arrival of coronavirus vaccines in the country allows the government to inoculate more people, a development which he said represented “a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Duterte issued the message during the ceremonial vaccine rollout for the A4 priority group or the essential workers Monday, June 7.

“I am pleased to join you today as we mark a major milestone in our battle against COVID-19. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccine shipments have started to arrive in bulk. This development is the result of our national government’s aggressive efforts to secure sufficient doses from different manufacturers,” he said in a taped message.

“With the start of our mass vaccination, the A4 priority category our workers in both public and private sector will have an added layer of protection against the disease,” he added.

The President however reminded people to continue to observe health protocols despite receiving their vaccines.

“To my dear kababayans, let us keep in mind that vaccination is the only way forward for us to overcome this pandemic but we must also remember that getting vaccinated is not the only solution,” he said.

“We must continue to observe minimum public health standards by wearing a mask, washing our hands, and observing social distancing,” he added.

The government launched Monday the vaccination of the A4 priority group or the country’s essential workers, initially the private sector workers required to be physically present in their workplace, employees in government agencies, informal sector workers and self-employed persons who work outside their homes, and those working in private households.

The initial phase of the vaccine deployment for A4 group will focus on around 13 million additional workers in NCR Plus 8, which represented areas with high coronavirus cases. Another 22.5 million workers will eventually be covered by the vaccination outside NCR+8, bringing the total number of workforce to 35.5 million.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier announced that the country is expected to receive around 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccines this month. The supplies include doses from Sinovac, Pfizer, Moderna and Sputnik V.

The country has so far obtained more than 8 million doses of COVID vaccines, allowing the government to fully vaccinate over a million Filipinos.