IATF: Mayors, governors now part of 'A 1.5' priority group for COVID-19 jabs

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2021 12:50 PM | Updated as of May 17 2021 01:28 PM

A health worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila on May 4, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response said on Monday mayors and governors were upgraded among priority groups in the coronavirus vaccination drive. 

Over 1,700 governors and mayors were previously under the fourth priority group or "A4" category composed of essential workers. 

The IATF has approved the inclusion of the local chief executives under priority group "A1.5", said task force and Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque.

Mayors and governors supervise the COVID-19 vaccination drive and lockdowns in their areas. They also implement the COVID-19 prevention, detection, rehabilitation and treatment strategy, which is the "cornerstone" of the pandemic response, he said. 

"Sila po talaga ang ating instrumento dito sa paglaban natin sa COVID-19," Roque said in a press briefing. 

"They may not be doctors, but they are equally frontliners dahil lahat po ng stratehiya natin, ang humaharap po ang, mga lokal na opisyales, si mayor at si governor." 

(They are the instrument in our fight against COVID-19. They may not be doctors, but they are equally frontliners because mayors and governors lead all our strategies.) 

Their inclusion in the A 1.5 category is "regardless of the respective [coronavirus] risk classification" of local government units, according to an IATF resolution

The country's 1.7 million health workers make up A1, the top priority group. The elderly and people with comorbidities are part of the A2 and A3 groups, respectively. 

The Philippines has received 7.779 million COVID-19 shots. About 2.96 million of these jabs have been administered, Roque said. 

Video courtesy of PTV