Extreme distrust for vaccines not manufactured “reputable” drug companies was clearly manifest in Saudi Arabia as authorities here barred the AUTOMATIC entry of Filipino OFWs who received China’s Sinovac.
It was learned, however, an OFW may be allowed to enter the country if he/she will agree to a 10-day quarantine procedure that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said is estimated to cost around 3,500 Saudi rials, which is the approximately the equivalent of a month’s wages.
Labor department sources claimed that only OFWs who will be exempted from the newly-enforced stringent quarantine requirement are those who were given doses of the highly-efficacious Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson vaccines.
As a result, the Philippine government has ordered a temporary suspension of the deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia pending resolution of this issue which was described as “highly discriminatory.”
Bello said the Philippines may be persuaded to lift the deployment ban if the burden of paying the stiff quarantine costs will not be shouldered by the OFWs, but by their respective employers or the Saudi government itself.
Per data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are about 0.5 million Pinoy OFWs currently gainfully employed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and over the years they have contributed to its economic prosperity.