Booster vaccination OK’d for outgoing OFWs

Published November 20, 2021, 12:35 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can now get their booster shots against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) if they are going to be deployed abroad soon, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Saturday, Nov. 20.


Galvez, who also serves as the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said the policy-making Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has already approved the booster vaccination for OFWs “who are about to be deployed within four months.”

Retired general Restituto Padilla Jr., NTF spokesperson, said the new policy will be implemented “immediately.”

“I just got the confirmation now. In order to maintain our competitive advantage at para ma-secure nila ang kanilang foreign deployment at kontrata, ito po ay ipinagpapatuloy na (for them to secure their foreign deployments and contracts, this will be implemented already),” he said in a Laging Handa press briefing.

The Department of Health (DOH) approved the administration of booster doses for healthcare workers, who belong to the A1 priority category in the vaccination program, last Nov. 17.

Next week, the NTF plans to launch the booster vaccination of senior citizens (A2) and individuals with co-morbidities (A3).

“Dahil po sila [OFWs] ay pasok sa pagiging A1 at economic frontliners, nagbigay daan na po tayo sa A1 prioritization, pwede na po itong simulan (Since they are included in the A1 category and they are considered as economic frontliners, we already gave way for them in our A1 prioritization, and we can already start this),” Padilla continued.

However, only those OFWs who have been fully vaccinated for at least six months will be qualified to get the booster shots.

“Pero kung kayo po ay nagkaroon ng vaccination last month lang o hindi pa umaabot ng anim na buwan, hindi pa rin po pasok ‘yan dahil hindi pasok sa protocol na sinusunod na ibinigay ng ating mga vaccination experts (But if you were only vaccinated last month or for less than six months, you would not be able to qualify because it is not recommended in the protocol that that the vaccination experts issued),” he explained.

OFWs who are eligible to get the booster doses will have special lanes in the vaccination sites, similar to the healthcare workers, so they will no longer have to queue up, according to Padilla.

The administration of booster shots to OFWs is seen by the government as one way to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and sustain the economy’s revival.

So far, around 6,000 individuals – all healthcare workers – have already been administered with booster shots.