Transport workers, vendors, gov't workers among next in line for COVID-19 vaccination

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 12 2021 03:52 PM | Updated as of Apr 12 2021 04:46 PM

Transport workers, vendors, gov't workers among next in line for COVID-19 vaccination 1
Senior citizens line up for the COVID19 vaccine inoculation at the San Juan Arena on March 30, 2021. The city government of San Juan has allocated 103 vials of AstraZeneca vaccines for 1,030 senior citizens, and 1,669 doses of SinoVac vaccines for health workers and adults with comorbidities. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Monday released a list of the sectors that are next in line for COVID-19 vaccines, following the vaccination of health workers, senior citizens and people with comorbidities.

NEDA Undersecretary Rose Edillon said during a Department of Health briefing that they chose the following economic sectors due to their “high levels of interaction with or exposure to the public.” She said these are workers or individuals “who cannot really maintain a bubble.”

They also included those who are needed to ensure security, consumer and worker safety, as well as those working on priority government projects.

The 13 sub-groups under A4:

A4.1 - Commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics (delivery)
A4.2 - Frontline government workers in justice, security, transport and social protection sectors (including working in jails, police officers, social workers in crisis intervention units)
A4.3 - Public and private wet and dry market vendors; frontline workers in grocery, supermarkets; delivery services 
A4.4 - Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
A4.5 - Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
A4.6 - Frontline government workers (including safety inspectors, field enumerators, tax and clearance personnel)
A4.7 - Frontline workers in Financial Services (including frontliners in banks, money remittance establishments)
A4.8 - Teaching and related personnel in medical and allied medical courses of higher education institutions, including personnel handling laboratories 
A4.9 - Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation (especially establishments doubling as quarantine facilities)
A4.10 - Priests, Pastors, religious leaders regardless of denomination
A4.11 - Construction workers in government infrastructure projects
A4.12 - Security guards/personnel assigned in the establishments, offices, agencies, and organizations identified in these priority sectors
A4.13 - OFWs not classified above, and scheduled for deployment within 2 months

Under the government’s vaccination program, the population is categorized based on priority groups, partly due to the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines. Under A1 are health workers, A2 are those 60 years old and above, and A3 are those with comorbidities. Those 3 are already being simultaneously vaccinated. A4 are “frontline personnel in essential sectors both in public and private sectors, including uniformed personnel” while A5 are poor Filipinos included in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said as early as now, employers and organizations should be preparing certificates for those included in the A4 category.

She said employee masterlists should already prepared so certificates can be distributed.

“Para pag dumating ang panahon na maguumpisa na hindi ito maging cause of delay,” Vergeire said.

(So that when vaccination starts, this won’t be a cause of delay.)

According to Edillon, employers of those covered should issue a Certificate of A4 Eligibility.

“The Certificate shall be signed by any of the following: owner of establishment, highest ranking personnel of the agency or organization with office located in the LGU, head of the Human Resources unit,” she said.

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The establishments, agencies and organizations employing the priority groups are encouraged to disseminate the information and to adopt a schedule system for vaccination “taking into consideration possible adverse reactions of vaccinees.”

“We also hope that that EAOs (Establishments, Agencies, Organizations) can provide logistical support including transport to facilitate vaccination of their workers, and coordinate also with LGUs for the vaccination,” Edillon said.

Asked when those under the A4 will be vaccinated, Edillon said, “I think the best case scenario we can start in May. But it can also be in June. There’s a 1st and 2nd dose so it can be June, July and August.”

Of the 3 million COVID-19 vaccines received by the Philippines, only more than 1 million or less than half had been administered. Groups have been pushing for faster rollout of vaccines but the government said it is difficult because of the global shortage of vaccines. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority also said local government units have reported hesitancy or limited numbers of priority groups registering.