Movie industry workers get COVID jab at MMDA

Published June 11, 2021, 1:46 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Even “stars” need to get inoculated from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Actor Joross Gamboa receives his first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine during the immunization of movie industry workers at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) headquarters in Makati City on June 11, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), organizer of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), rolled out on Friday, June 11 its COVID-19 vaccination program for movie industry workers.

“We are doing this initiative as we look forward to jumpstarting the film industry and restore it to its former glory and be lively again,” MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said during the event, which made use of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines.

The vaccination, which ran from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., was carried out in partnership with the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND) at the MMDA headquarters in Makati City. Actors, actresses, crew members, and other workers involved in the entertainment industry availed of the free immunization.

“There are around 300,000 people from the local film industry who are directly affected by the pandemic. These include producers, cinemas, theater employees, ticket sellers, etc. However, if we include other businesses which are dependent on the movie industry, the total number of individuals affected stands at 500,000,” Abalos noted.

He says movie industry workers are classified as economic frontliners, who are included in the A4 category of the country’s vaccination priority list.

Actress Candy Pangilinan receives her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine during the same event. (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)

The vaccination of the A4 group–private employees required to physically report for work, employees in government agencies, workers in the informal sector, self-employed individuals who may be required to work outside their homes, and private household workers–officially began last Monday.

The MMDA chief said he hopes that the government will soon allow the reopening of local cinemas so that Filipinos would again enjoy a wonderful movie experience, “as long as minimum health standards are observed and strictly followed.”

Abalos said actors and actresses can be influencers who can help the government in raising public awareness about the benefits of the vaccines. More importantly, they can educate the public on the elimination of vaccine preferences.

“Through our artists’ influence to the masses, they can help in addressing the public’s vaccine hesitancy and encourage them to get their jabs for the country to achieve herd immunity [in] the soonest time possible,” Abalos explained.

The MOWELFUND, meanwhile, thanked the MMDA for their assistance and accommodation in getting their COVID-19 shots.

MOWELFUND President Rez Cortez expressed optimism that through the vaccination of actors and actresses, the show business and movie industry will transition and easily adapt to the new normal.

“As the inoculation for our entertainment industry starts, I am certain that we will thrive despite the struggles and look for innovative ways to actively promote local films and TV shows,” Cortez said.