VULNERABLE persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) like the eldery and sick will be included in the three-day national COVID-19 vaccination drive scheduled on November 29 to December 1, 2021, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra disclosed over the weekend.
According to Guevarra, National Task Force Against COVID-19 and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. has agreed to include vulnerable PDLs during the mass vaccination drive dubbed “Bayanihan Bakunahan.”
“I had the chance to talk in person with Sec. Galvez last night and plead for the vaccination of all vulnerable PDLs in BUCOR (Bureau of Corrections) facilities all over the country. Ever the compassionate man that he is, Sec. Galvez gave me his assurance that my request will be granted, ” Guevarra said.
Previously, a support group for families and friends of political prisoners called on the government to include PDLs in the government’s immunization program for COVID-19.
In a letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, KAPATID spokesperson Fides Lim said that “ more than 215,000 PDLs including the 680 political prisoners, should not be denied their right to get a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine as they are clearly not spared from the dangers posed by the contagious and deadly disease.”
“We ask your office to help ensure the rights to life and health of prisoners, including all political prisoners. Please do not fail them this time like how they were failed when our petition seeking the release of medically vulnerable prisoners – the very old, the very sick and pregnant women – took five months with the Supreme Court only to be remanded to the lower courts for even slower action,” Lim said.
She asked why up to now since the coronavirus outbreak, there still “no official pronouncements that consider PDLs as part of the most at-risk populations who need to get the vaccine first.”