The Department of Health has released a list of priority eligible groups for the country’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, which names overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) among the first groups to receive the vaccine once it is available in the Philippines.
The announcement was made at a briefing given to the House Committee on People’s Participation by government agencies involved in the COVID-19 vaccination.
OFWs Among Priority Groups for COVID-19 Vaccination Plan – Health Department
DOH representative, Dr. Aleli Annie Grace Sudiacal, on Wednesday (November 18) made it clear that the prioritization of the sectors will only be carried out based on the level and availability of supply, the Manila Bulletin reported.
The list shared by the health department reveals that the first priority will be frontline health workers, with numbers estimated at 1.7 million in the Philippines, while OFWs are on the 10th spot.
Of this number, 612,975 are from public and private health facilities, 602,982 are public health workers and LGU contact tracers, 414,640 are Barangay Health Workers, and the remaining 132,397 are other national government agencies (NGAs) including the DSWD, DepEd, DILG, BJMP and the Bureau of Corrections.
Listed below are the rest of the priority groups identified by the DOH in the Philippines’ COVID-19 Vaccination Plan:
2nd: Indigent Senior Citizens (3,789,874)
3rd priority: Remaining Senior Citizens (5,678,544)
4th priority: Remaining Indigent Population (12,911,193)
5th priority: Uniformed Personnel (PNP, AFP, PCG, BFP, CAFGU) (525,523)
The first five groups identified already account for some 24 million Filipinos. Meanwhile, next on the list are:
6th priority: Teachers and School Workers (public and private)
7th priority: All Government Workers (National and Local Government)
8th priority: Essential Workers in Agriculture, Food Industry, Transportation and Tourism
9th priority: Sociodemographic Groups at Significantly Higher Risk Other than Senior Citizens and Indigent Population (PDLs, PWDs, Filipinos living in high-density areas)
10th priority: Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)
11th Priority: Other Remaining Workforce
12th priority: Students
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire cited the executive order issued by President Rodrigo Duterte to grant emergency use powers for the country’s Food and Drug Administration to speed up the approval and arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Vergeire explained that the Republic Act 9711 or the FDA act doesn’t cover the mandate for the regulatory body to give the emergency use authority for vaccines, even amid the ongoing pandemic.