Truck drivers, helpers fall under 4th priority group for vaccination

  • Truck drivers and helpers (pahinante) are among those included in the fourth priority group of workers for vaccination, as recommended by the National Economic and Development Authority
  • About 12.833 million workers are under the A4 priority group, of which 3.672 million are in the A4.1 subgroup or commuter transport and logistics group
  • Also part of the A4 priority group are workers engaged in the manufacturing of food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products and construction workers in government infrastructure projects
  • Vaccination of the A4 priority group is set to start in July

Truck drivers and helpers (pahinante) are listed among logistics personnel that fall under the A4 priority group of workers and sectors recommended for immediate vaccination by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) under the National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan.

The latest NEDA recommendation provides a detailed list of sectors and individuals and follows the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) resolution approving priority groups under A4.

READ: Logistics workers part of 4th PH vaccination priority group

IATF Resolution No. 110 signed on April 15 approved the list of sectors and eligible workers under A4 as recommended by the NEDA-led National Task Force against COVID-19 Recovery Cluster.

READ: Logistics workers among approved A4 priority economic frontliners

Workers under A4 belong to priority 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.

These are:
• A4.1 – Commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
• A4.2 – Public and private wet and dry market vendors; frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
• A4.3 – Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
• A4.4 – Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
• A4.5 – Frontline workers in private and government financial services
• A4.6 – Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
• A4.7 – Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
• A4.8 – Security guards/personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
• A4.9 – Frontline workers in private and government news media
• A4.10 – Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
• A4.11 – Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
• A4.12 – Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months
• A4.13 – Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
• A4.14 – Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
• A4.15 – Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
• A4.16 – Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs personnel in consular operations
• A4.17 – Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

Under the latest NEDA recommendation, listed under A4.1 are the following:
• Motorcycle (e.g., Angkas) and tricycle drivers
• Car, taxi, van drivers (including jeepney, taxi/FX drivers), transport network vehicle service (TNVS)
• Bus drivers, train/tram operators
• Truck drivers and helpers (pahinante)
• Active seafarers, domestic or international (with recorded sea service within the last two years)
• Aircraft pilots and other associate professionals
• Transport conductors
• Travel attendants and travel stewards (includes ship stewards)
• Luggage porters
• Service station attendants (includes gasoline attendants)
• Cleaners and janitors in stations, terminals, and airports

Since vaccine supply is limited, the government earlier approved a prioritization framework for its free vaccination program. Those under A4 will be vaccinated after A1 (health workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidities) groups are through with their jabs.

Eligible workers under the A4 category will be pre-registered according to their place of work.

According to NEDA’s recommendation submitted to the Department of Health, there are an estimated 12.833 million workers in the A4 priority group, excluding workers under A4.9 and A4.10, based on the 2015 Census of Population, 2018 List of Establishments, and other administrative data. Of the total, 3.672 million fall under A4.1.

The numbers, however, will need to be finalized specific to each local government unit during the microplanning stage.

“Given the scarcity of the current vaccine supply, NEDA has identified the sectors or groups that have high levels of interaction with the public, and are needed to ensure security, consumer and worker safety. By prioritizing these sectors, we are also indirectly protecting the millions who avail of their services,” acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said in a statement.

NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie Edillon said the government targets to begin vaccinating the A4 priority group in July, as the vaccination of the first three groups nears completion.

“We also project that vaccine supply will be widely available by September 2021, with enough doses to inoculate groups A1 to A4 and to begin vaccine deployment for the remaining adult population not included in the first four priority groups,” Edillon added. —Roumina Pablo