DOLE wants OFWs, minimum wage earners included among priorities for COVID-19 vaccine
Marje Pelayo • December 21, 2020 • 339
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) wants overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and minimum wage workers to be among the first to receive the vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) once it becomes available.
In an interview with UNTV, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said minimum wage earners comprise about 60% to 70% of the country’s overall workforce thus, they also should be prioritized in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Kailangan tiyakin natin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga minimum wage workers para matiyak natin din yung ating negosyo at ang ating economic recovery (We need to ensure the safety of our minimum wage workers so we can guarantee the success of our businesses and economic recovery),” Bello said.
He also reiterated that overseas Filipino workers play an important role in the country’s economy in the form of remittances, hence they should be listed at least among the top six in the order of priority.
“Doon naman sa mga Overseas Filipino Workers, tinagurian silang bagong bayani, modern day heroes so they should be treated as modern days heroes (Overseas Filipino workers are considered modern-day heroes so they should be treated as that),” the Secretary said.
ALU-TUCP Spokesperson Alan Tanjusay supports the idea saying workers are exposed to threats of COVID-19 and the possibility of transmission is high.
He also suggested the possibility of investors leaving the country and transferring to other countries that are already administering the vaccine.
“May posibilidad na magsilipat ang mga investors doon sa mga bansang nabakunahan na dahil regular na ang mobility nila, ang pagbyahe ng mga manggagawa (There is a possibility that investors would go to countries where vaccines are available because mobility and travel of workers there are back to normal),” Tanjusay argued.
DOLE said the expenses for the vaccination may be shouldered by either the government or the employers.
The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said big companies could probably afford to shoulder the expenses.
The only concern, he said, are the small and medium companies that comprise about 90% of businesses in the country.
“Kahit anong gawin natin hindi kayang magpabakuna noon. Iyon nga lang 13th month pay alam mo naman nagkahirapan tayo. Iyon pa kaya sa bakuna na iyan (Whatever we do they wouldn’t be able to afford the vaccine. They can hardly provide for their workers’ 13th month pay, how much more for the vaccine),” said ECOP president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr.
The employers’ group said, it should be the government that will shoulder the expenses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
ECOP said it is still up to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) as to who they want to prioritize for the vaccination and not all workers are obliged to take it. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will not be receiving the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
“FTD (Francisco T Duque III) will not be vaccinated with SINOVAC as EUA provisions exclude 60 and above,” the DOH said in a message to reporters.
“He also underscores that we will follow the prioritization framework, and will ensure that limited doses will go to the HCWs first,” it added.
Duque, 64, earlier said he is willing to receive Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine but the age bracket recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might become an issue.
The FDA said the Sinovac jabs are only recommended to be administered to people aged 18 to 59 years old as it showed a higher efficacy rate in the said group based on clinical trials conducted in Indonesia and Turkey.
Duque led the rollout of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for healthcare workers and other frontliners on Monday after the donated 600,000 Sinovac vaccines from China arrived in the country on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – Five people were reported feeling unwell after being administered with Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) on the first day of the vaccination program rollout.
In Correspondent Dante Amento’s report on UNTV’s Ito Ang Balita, five people were sent to the emergency room for monitoring and observation.
One of them was a male staff of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office who experienced a dizzy spell a few minutes after receiving the vaccine.
A female vaccinee experienced rashes, while two others reported having a high blood pressure and palpitations.
Of the cases, two have been discharged.
According to VMMC director, Dr. Dominador Chiong, the reported symptoms can be considered mild side effects if these are proven to have been caused by the COVID-19 vaccine.
They are also not discounting the possibility that the symptoms may have also been caused by other factors such as anxiety about the vaccination and fatigue, as well as the heat.
“Pwedeng mangyari po yun talaga just like in any other medication,” Chiong said.
The Philippine government on Monday formally rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program to several hospitals in Metro Manila after receiving the donated vaccine doses from China on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he will not be administered with CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine made by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, as the Philippines rolls out its vaccination drive on Monday.
In a post on Twitter, Lorenzana said he volunteered to be among the first to receive the vaccine in the Department of National Defense (DND) “to lead by example to not cast doubt against Sinovac,” and to “hopefully bring confidence” among its personnel.
However, he was advised that he was not qualified to take the vaccine based on Sinovac’s age limit, which is 18 to 59.
Lorenzana is 72 years old.
The DND started Monday the inoculation of its personnel against COVID-19. Lorenzana and other officials witnessed the vaccination rollout at Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City.
The Defense chief said the DND has been allocated with 100,000 vaccine doses – 29,040 of these jabs are allotted for health workers of the VMMC and V. Luna Medical Center, military and civilian staff of the DND-Proper. The remaining doses will be given to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government arrived in the country on Sunday. The vaccines were welcomed by President Rodrigo Duterte and other Cabinet officials at the Villamore Airbase in Pasay City. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
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