IBP welcomes IATF move to include lawyers in COVID-19 vaccination priority list

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021   •   346

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday welcomed the decision of the government’s task force for COVID-19 response to include lawyers in the groups to be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Malacañang earlier announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has listed lawyers under the A4 category which includes frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors.

The Palace said that the A4 priority list includes the following:

  • Workers in commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
  • Public and private wet and dry market vendors
  • Frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
  • Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • Frontline workers in private and government financial services
  • Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
  • Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
  • Security guards/ personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • Frontline workers in private and government news media
  • Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
  • Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months
  • Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection;
  • Worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
  • Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
  • Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel in consular operations
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

“We are thankful that the request for inclusion of lawyers as A4 in vaccine prioritization was favorably acted upon,” IBP president Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a statement.

“Litigation lawyers, prosecutors, PAO lawyers, and lawyers who are frontliners in the justice/law sector who are at risk of COVID-19 infection should be similarly protected as the magistrates and court employees,” he added.

Cayosa assured that the IBP will “fully cooperate to ensure fair and efficient allocation of vaccines.”

IATF urged to prioritize urban areas with high COVID-19 cases in vaccine rollout

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Monday called on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to prioritize the NCR Plus and other urban areas with high cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the government’s vaccination rollout.

In a statement, Velasco said these areas should be prioritized after all medical frontliners in the country are fully inoculated against COVID-19.

“As we await large supplies of vaccines to come in, we urge the IATF to prioritize NCR Plus and other urban centers in our vaccine rollout so we can quell the surge in new infections in those areas,” Velasco pointed out.

“But first and foremost, let us vaccinate all 1.7 million health care workers all over the country to make sure they are protected against COVID-19,” he added.

The NCR Plus is composed of the National Capital Region (NCR), and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna.

Aside from the NCR Plus, Velasco said the national government should also give priority vaccine allocation to Mega Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and other regional centers across the country.

Echoing health experts, Velasco said the best defense against the “superspreader variants” would be to inundate these areas with vaccines.

“Our efforts should be strategic as we wait for the time until our vaccine supplies become stable,” Velasco said.

The Philippine government earlier reported that a total of 246,986 individuals have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A total of 1,809,801 doses have been administered in 3,415 vaccination sites in 17 regions.

PH govt’ to give 5,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to minimum wage earners, OFWs on Labor Day – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will give 5,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to minimum wage earners and overseas Filipino workers (OFW) under A4 priority group on May 1, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the vaccinations will take place during the “symbolic inoculation ceremony.”

“The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, approved the request of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for 5,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be used during the symbolic inoculation ceremony of minimum wage workers and overseas Filipino workers under Priority Group A4 on May 1, 2021,” Roque said in a statement.

The Palace official said DOLE has been directed to create a master list to ensure the equitable representation of the labor sector during the said ceremony.

The A4 sector is composed of workers or frontline personnel in essential sectors who have high levels of interaction with the public and economic sectors that are needed to ensure security, consumer and worker safety, and those working in priority government projects.

The IATF earlier approved the list of following sectors included in the A4 priority group of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program:

  • Workers in commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
  • Public and private wet and dry market vendors
  • Frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
  • Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • Frontline workers in private and government financial services
  • Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
  • Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
  • Security guards/ personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • Frontline workers in private and government news media
  • Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
  • Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months
  • Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection;
  • Worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
  • Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
  • Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel in consular operations
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

Meanwhile, Roque also announced that the IATF has considered frontliners of the Senate and Congress under A4 group “in recognition of their critical and dispensable role in our fight against the coronavirus pandemic.”

A4 group not yet up for COVID-19 vaccination; guidelines out soon – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The inoculation of frontline workers listed under the fourth priority group (A4) for COVID-19 vaccination has yet to start because the government is still crafting the prioritization guidelines, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

“We are drafting the guidelines right now,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online briefing, adding that it will be released soon after the DOH met with vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and some representatives from the private sector.

Vergeire said they are also coordinating with the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) for the drafting of the guidelines.

 “Kailangan lang natin ipaliwanag uli at ipagbigay alam sa ating mga kababayan, hindi pa nag-uumpisa ang A4 natin na pagbabakuna. So andun pa rin tayo sa simultaneous vaccinations ng A1 to A3,” she said.

The A4 sector is composed of workers or frontline personnel in essential sectors who have high levels of interaction with the public and economic sectors that are needed to ensure security, consumer and worker safety, and those working in priority government projects.

The A4 priority list includes the following:

  • Workers in commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
  • Public and private wet and dry market vendors
  • Frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
  • Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • Frontline workers in private and government financial services
  • Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
  • Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
  • Security guards/ personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • Frontline workers in private and government news media
  • Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
  • Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months
  • Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of the government transport system, quarantine inspection;
  • Worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
  • Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
  • Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel in consular operations
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

The Philippines has so far vaccinated over 1.3 million individuals who are part of the first three priority groups – healthcare workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), and persons with co-morbidities (A3).

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