SENATE Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is appealing to the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Department of Health to allow the vaccination of economic and government frontliners, categorized as A4 in the priority list, as soon as possible.
“So many vaccines have arrived in the country thanks to the efforts of Sec. Carlito Galvez and Sec. Vince Dizon. However, a lot of these vaccines are just sitting in storage, with many vaccination centers reporting a lack of people to vaccinate, under the A1 to A3 categories. As a matter of fact, I have been told that some vaccination centers have allowed walk-ins so as not to spoil the defrosted and opened vaccines,” said Zubiri.
The government’s vaccination rollout, which began last February, is currently serving frontline health workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), and persons with comorbidities (A3). To date, the country has received over seven million vaccine doses of CoronaVac (Sinovac), AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, and Pfizer-BioNTech—all two-dose vaccines. Only around 2.02 million people have received at least a single dose so far, with just over five hundred thousand receiving the full two doses.
“If some of our vaccination centers are empty right now, I think it’s time that we open them up for the next level in the priority list, our A4 frontliners—our essential economic workers and our uniformed personnel. This category is really crucial for our goal of herd immunity.
“Frontline workers both in the private sector and in the government sector are easily prone to infection and thus need to be vaccinated soon. If we want to achieve herd immunity, we need to start vaccinating as many vulnerable people as possible.
“I support the stand of Sec. Dizon and Sec. Galvez to start vaccinating our A4 group, assuring that all of our vaccination centers will be fully utilized, so we can bring up our vaccinations to at least 100,000 individuals a day.”
“Of course we have to continue our efforts of vaccinating our most vulnerable sectors, so we will keep reaching out to our health workers, senior citizens, and our persons with comorbidities,” Zubiri stressed. “They will still be top priority, and should be given a fast lane at these centers.”
“But at the same time, we have to consider that the vaccines will expire if left unused, and we cannot afford to waste them. And if the A4 group is ready to be vaccinated, let’s get on with it.
“We also need to ramp up the vaccination program to the provinces, as there has been a spike in cases in several areas outside the NCR Plus bubble. We need to fast track vaccine deliveries to Central and Northern Luzon, and all the way to the South, in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“Many of these areas haven’t even started vaccinating their senior citizens yet because they’re yet to receive their allotment of vaccines. But with the new incoming batch of imported vaccines, we can now hopefully augment the stocks all over the Philippines.
“We need to work together now more than ever to prevent an India-like scenario for our country, and the best way forward, aside from the proper health protocols is to vaccinate, vaccinate, and vaccinate as many people as possible.
“And I really hope that everyone who can get vaccinated grabs this chance. The survival of our people, our economy ,and our country does not lie solely with our government, but in each and every one of us choosing to do what is right and responsible, for ourselves, and for the people around us,” Zubiri said.