Some 10,000 doses of coronarivus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, specifically the Russian-made Sputnik V, will be sent to Bohol this week for the inoculation of tourism frontliners in the province, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced on Monday, June 14.
“I am delighted to bring the good news that vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez and Secretary Vince Dizon have approved our request for additional vaccines for Bohol,” Puyat shared during a virtual meeting with tourism industry stakeholders in the province.
At least 5,000 tourism workers are expected to benefit from the shipment of Sputnik V, which is manufactured by Gamaleya Research Institute of Russia.
Puyat said the move will help prepare the industry frontliners for a “bigger reopening of tourism in the coming days”.
“With these vaccines, we are assured that frontliners from accredited hotel and resort staff, transport operators, tour site, and restaurant facilities will have an added protection against COVID-19,” she added.
Bohol, which is among the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, has been reeling from the massive downturn in the tourism sector since the health crisis hit the country last year.
Data from the provincial government showed that more than 200,000 workers were gravely affected by the imposition of lockdowns or community quarantine, as they were either laid off by their employers or placed on itinerant work schedules.
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said that workers coming from DOT-accredited establishments that have secured the Certificate of Authority to Operate, as well as the local government’s tourism seal of excellence called Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) Seal, will be prioritized in the early vaccination program.
“Bohol draws its income from remittances abroad and the services sector, and both sources have been impacted during this crisis,” Yap said.
“The promise of more vaccines arriving sooner than later is indeed great news so we can protect not only our residents but assure visitors that we are taking measures to assure their safety as well,” he added.
Meanwhile, Puyat is optimistic that a travel bubble between Bohol and various destinations in Asia will soon be feasible with the inoculation of tourism workers in the province.
“There are no standard procedures in confronting this pandemic. We have to find innovative measures for the nation to recover. It will be a constant challenge and new hurdles will occur, but discovering and addressing them is the way to adapt to this crisis,” she said.
“Bohol’s local procedures have always strived to keep the locals safe while remaining welcome to tourism. This makes Bohol a prime candidate when we begin opening up direct travel bubbles with select regional destinations very soon,” Puyat added.