• The government will start inoculation of workers under the A4 priority group (frontline workers in essential sectors) in June with the expected arrival of more vaccines
• An estimated 35.5 million workers are under A4, according to the National Economic and Development Authority
• The first phase of vaccination for A4 will include the 13 million workers in NCR+8, while the 22.5 million who are outside NCR+8 will be inoculated after
The Philippine government will start inoculation of workers under the A4 priority group—frontline workers in essential sectors, including logistics workers —in June with the expected arrival of more vaccines.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press briefing on May 31, said the government expects one million doses of Sinovac vaccines to arrive on June 6; 1.3 million doses and 900,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines on June 7 and June 11, respectively; and 200,000 doses of Moderna vaccines on June 21.
Citing data from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Roque said under A4 are an estimated 35.5 million workers, of which 13 million are in NCR+8, or the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) through Resolution No. 117 dated May 27 has adopted NEDA’s recommendation to focus the first phase of vaccine deployment for the A4 priority group on workers in NCR+8 since these areas make up the majority of COVID-19 cases in the country.
The IATF also approved expansion of the A4 priority group to now also include private sector workers required to be physically present at their designated workplace outside their residences; employees in government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations and local government units; and informal sector workers and self-employed who may be required to work outside their residences, and those working in private households.
Earlier, A4 focused mainly on workers in economic sectors, which are sectors or groups that have high levels of interaction with or exposure to the public and cannot dutifully practice the minimum public health standards at work; are needed to ensure security, consumer and worker safety; and are working in priority government projects. Workers under commuter transportation and logistics, particularly truck drivers and helpers, are included under A4.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua earlier said expansion of the A4 list was due to the expected increase in vaccine supply beginning June.
After those under A4 in NCR+8, another 22.5 million A4 workers from other areas will subsequently be inoculated, bringing the total estimate to 35.5 million.
NEDA undersecretary for policy and planning Rosemarie Edillon stressed that stronger engagement with establishments, agencies and organizations (EAOs) is needed to facilitate vaccine deployment to the A4 priority groups and get closer to the target to inoculate 70 million adult Filipinos by year-end.
“We enjoin EAOs to work closely with us and help reach and vaccinate as many A4 group members as possible. The EAOs may organize vaccination of their A4-eligible workers in their offices or workplaces,” Edillon said.
Meanwhile, healthcare workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities—or those belonging to the A1, A2, and A3 groups, respectively—will continue to be prioritized for the vaccination program.
“Vaccines from the Covax Facility will be used only for the A1, A2, and A3 categories, as well as for the A5 group or the indigent population, to ensure equitable access to vaccines especially among the most vulnerable,” Edillon noted.