MANILA — Filipinos who fall under the A4 priority group can be vaccinated against COVID-19 by June, a health official said on Saturday.
In a public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the vaccination rollout for the said sector, however, would still depend on the global vaccine supply and the country's available vaccine jabs.
"Ito pong A4 priority group, according [kay] vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., maaaring mag-umpisa by June... depende po 'yan sa pagpasok ng mga bakuna sa ating bansa," Vergeire explained.
(The vaccination for the A4 priority group, according to Sec. Galvez, can start by June. It still depends though on the global vaccine supply and the available doses in the country.)
Video courtesy of PTV
"Alam po natin na A1 to A3 ay malaking populasyon po, at hindi po rin po natin halos makalahati ang A1 to A3," she said.
(We know that the population of A1 to A3 is big, and we cannot even vaccinate half of them)
The A4 priority group refers to frontliners of essential sectors. These include market vendors, supermarket and food retail workers, and other workers who are required to interact with the public due to their work.
It also includes frontline economic workers from private and government sectors, religious groups, and the media.
The first three groups on top of the vaccination priority are health workers, the elderly and people with comorbidities.
The health official added that the government is looking for ways to fast-track the vaccination among A1 to A3 priority sectors, so they could proceed with the A4 population.
This development came as the country welcomed the shipment of 2 million doses from AstraZeneca through the COVAX Facility, a World Health Organization-led vaccine sharing platform.
The additional doses on Saturday raised the country's total vaccine supply to 7.540 million COVID-19 shots, majority of which are from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech.
At present, the Philippines is vaccinating three priority groups: health workers (A1), those over 60 years old (A2), and those with comorbidities (A3).
As of May 4, government data showed that a total of 320,586 Filipinos are already fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, having received their 2nd dose.
Based on ABS-CBN News' monitoring, the figure accounts for 0.46 percent of the government's 70 million target for this year.
Philippines has so far tallied over 1.094 million COVID-19 cases, more than 18,000 of whom have died due to the disease.
— With reports from Kristine Sabillo and Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News