PH looking to give COVID-19 vaccination priority to economic frontliners, athletes

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2021 01:41 PM | Updated as of Feb 03 2021 01:57 PM

Health workers participate in a vaccination simulation at Pedro P. Cruz Elementary School, Mandaluyong City, Jan. 27, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— Authorities will look into possibly expanding the priority list for COVID-19 vaccinations to cover economic frontliners and some athletes, an official leading the inoculation drive said on Wednesday. 

The COVAX Facility, a global initiative for equitable vaccine access, requires that the coronavirus shots it will give to the Philippines must go to health care workers and vulnerable groups, said Secretary Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. 

"'Pag after iyong tinatawag nating mga priority sectors ay natapos, titingnan din po natin iyong tinatawag nating frontline economic workers," he said in a public briefing. 

"Ito rin po ang kailangan natin to survive kasi ito po sila, sila po ang araw-araw na bumubuhay sa atin." 

(After vaccinating the priority sectors, we will also look at frontline economic workers. We also need them to survive because they support us every day.)

Video courtesy of PTV

In the same briefing, Galvez was asked if vaccination priority will also be given to athletes who will represent the Philippines in the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in November. 

"Mayroon pa naman ample time for them to have the vaccination," he replied. "Titingnan po namin sa IATF kung just in case we have excess vaccines, puwede po nating pagbigyan." 

(There is still ample time for them to have the vaccination. We at the inter-agency task force on COVID-19 will study if we can give them excess COVID-19 shots.) 

The Philippines aims to inoculate up to 70 million people against COVID-19 this year, beginning this month. 

This Philippines will get at least 5.6 million coronavirus jabs in the first quarter of the year from the COVAX Facility. These are on top of 108 million COVID-19 shots that the government has secured so far, said Galvez.