Now that we’ve done our research on the vaccines we’ll be receiving, what will our vaccination program look like? To answer this question, the government released the list of groups to be given priority once vaccine doses arrive as early as the first quarter of this year.
The list was released on Feb. 5 and crafted by the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (iNITAG), a group of national experts advising the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Frontline workers in private and public health facilities remain the top priority in the vaccination program, in order to preserve the country’s health system capacity. Next on the list are senior citizens aged 60 and above, as they’re at higher risk of contracting severe illnesses from COVID-19.
Persons with comorbidities are third on the list, but presidential spokesperson Harry Roque notes that the government is counting on doctors to issue medical certificates for their patients to prevent people who may fake chronic illnesses from jumping the line.
The rest of the list includes:
- A4: Frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the IATF as essential during ECQ
- A5: Indigent population not otherwise included in the preceding categories
- B1: Teachers, Social Workers
- B2: Other Government Workers
- B3: Other essential workers
- B4: Socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk other than senior citizens and indigenous people
- B5: Overseas Filipino Workers
- B6: Other Remaining Workforce
- C: Rest of the Filipino population not otherwise included in the above groups
Identifying priority areas will be based on the number of active coronavirus infections, availability of cold chain facilities and the readiness of local governments. Prior to the release of this list, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced that LGUs who are unprepared for the vaccine rollout will not receive supplies to ensure that no doses are wasted.
The country is expected to receive 10 million doses through the COVAX facility, an initiative led by the World Health Organization, vaccine alliance Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. At least 5.6 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca and 50,000 doses from Sinovac are expected to arrive in the first quarter of the year.