Metro mayors want food workers, drivers in vaccine priority list

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    THE National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) and Metro Manila mayors recommended the inclusion of “economic frontliners” among those to be prioritized by government in the vaccination program, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday night.

    The economic frontliners include transportation and food industry workers.

    Galvez, concurrent chief implementer of the NTF, reported to President Duterte that drivers and those in the food industry and factories continue to work despite the pandemic while some of them are even part of the marginalized sector.

    Galvez said those who should also be in the first priority list are medical workers and health frontliners, the vulnerable sector like senior citizens and those with comorbidity, the indigent sector, and government frontliners including the vaccinators and uniformed personnel.

    On the appeal to include national athletes who are competing in tournaments abroad in the vaccination priority list, Galvez and Deputy Chief implementer Vince Dizon said the matter has yet to be discussed by the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases.

    Galvez reiterated that the bulk of the vaccines would arrive in the third and fourth quarter of the year, with 30 million to 50 million doses to be delivered per quarter.

    The first tranche of the vaccines is expected to arrive in middle of or late this month, with around 3 million vaccines coming from pharmaceutical companies under the COVAX Facility arrangement. The COVAX facility is a global alliance that aims to provide poor countries opportunities to vaccinate their population against COVID-19.

    Galvez said the country has procured at least 92 million vaccine doses for the inoculation of 70 million Filipinos this year. He said the government wants to make sure there will be were extra vaccines available in case of slippage.

    Manila Mayor Isko Moreno yesterday met with Manila Archdiocese Apostolic Administrator Broderick Pabillo to finalize the latter’s offer for churches in the city to be used as COVID 19 vaccination sites.

    The meeting held at the Pope Francis Hall in the Manila Cathedral was also attended by City Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna Pangan.

    Moreno earlier said the city government is eyeing the Manila Cathedral and the San Agustin Church and its wide, open space as vaccination sites. – With Ashzel Hachero