IATF approves vaccine priority group A4

(Contributed via Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo)

(UPDATED) The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has approved Priority Group A4 of the national deployment and vaccination plan to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a resolution approved on Thursday, April 15, 2021, the frontline workers in the following sectors are included in Group A4, in order:

  1. Commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics;
  2. Public and private wet and dry market vendors, groceries, supermarkets and delivery services;
  3. Manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products;
  4. Food retail, including food service delivery;
  5. Private and government financial services;
  6. Hotels and accommodation establishments;
  7. Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders;
  8. Security personnel assigned in offices, agencies and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors;
  9. Private and government news media;
  10. Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities;
  11. Basic education and higher education institutions and agencies;
  12. Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months;
  13. Law/justice, security, and social protection sectors;
  14. Government transport system, quarantine inspection, worker safety inspection and other Covid-19 response activities;
  15. Tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID and data collection;
  16. Diplomatic community and consular operations of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); and
  17. Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects.

The IATF also approved the continuation of the training of the national athletes at the Olympic training bubble in Calamba, Laguna.

The suspension of foreign arrivals is also extended until April 30, 2021, while foreign nationals with valid entry exemption documents issued by the DFA prior to March 22, 2021 will be allowed entry to the Philippines.

The IATF also approved the extension of the risk-level classification of Quirino Province under modified enhanced community quarantine until April 30, 2021.

Under the deployment plan's prioritization framework, Group A4 will be vaccinated after the medical frontliners (A1), senior citizens (A2) and persons with comorbidities (A3).

Kalookan Bishop Pablo David, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) vice president, welcomed the inclusion of priests and other religious leaders in Group A4.

"That is important because, while we can still get infected, at least the severity would not be as fatal if one is vaccinated," David said.

David is among bishops and priests who have received the vaccine as senior citizens.

Others are Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, Baguio Bishop Victor Bendico, Jaro Archbishop Jose Romeo Lazo and Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier announced the simultaneous vaccination of Groups A1, A2 and A3, although only a few of the nearly 3,000 vaccination sites across the country have started inoculations of A2 and A3 due to lack of vaccines.

The Philippines has received a total of 3,025,600 vaccine doses as of April 11, consisting of 2.5 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine and 535,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Of the total, 93 percent or 2.8 million doses have been distributed to the different vaccination sites as of April 13, the DOH said.

Vaccines have been administered to 1,093,651 individuals. Of this number, 162,065 have also received their second dose.

A total of 1,255,716 doses have been administered as of April 13. About 38 percent, or 479,474, were administered in the National Capital Region (NCR), where hospitals are reeling from a surge in Covid-19 cases. (Marites Villamor-Ilano with HDT / SunStar Philippines)


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