In a bid to expedite efforts towards herd immunity as well as resuscitate the local economy, the national government has cast a wider inoculation net on the country while also adding in benefits and incentives, as the vaccination of essential workers under the A4 classification formally began on June 7.
A kick-off ceremony was held at a mall in Pasay City wherein almost 50 frontline workers were in attendance as a pre-recorded message from President Rodrigo Duterte played.
“I am pleased to join you today as we mark a major milestone in our battle against Covid19. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccine shipments have arrived, have started to arrive in bulk,” he said.
As stipulated in the classification guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) the A4 category includes workers in sectors such as food and retail, manufacturing, transportation, security, hotels, government offices, house help, work from home personnel, self-employed individuals, and employees in business process outsourcing (BPO).
By shifting the priority to those whose work is crucial to businesses and establishments, a positive effect on the economy is expected to follow suit.
Vaccination centers also established priority lanes for those under the first three categories (A1, A2, and A3) that have yet to receive their jabs.
Since the beginning of the national government’s vaccine program back in March, more than 4.4 million Filipinos have gotten at least a single vaccine dose, while over 1.5 million have been fully inoculated.
Compared to the target number of 70 million necessary to achieve herd immunity, however, the numbers indicate that the rollout is moving at a crawling pace.
To somewhat mitigate this, and encourage citizens to get vaccinated, authorities have been looking into benefits and incentives for recipients of the life-saving jabs.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez mentioned holding a discussion with the IATF on coming up with incentives for those that are fully vaccinated, particularly the elderly.
Meanwhile, some local government units (LGUs) have come up with unorthodox methods for enticing their constituents such as holding raffles for groceries, a house and lot, and even livestock as was the case in San Luis Town, Pampanga.
As the Covid19 pandemic continues to grip the country, a total of 54,000 infections remain active as of June 9.