PH gov’t to roll out COVID-19 vaccination program starting February 15 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 8, 2021   •   765

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is eyeing to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination program starting February 15, Malacañang announced.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said among the first to receive the vaccines are healthcare workers from hospitals that serve as main COVID-19 referral facilities including the Philippine General Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, and the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Metro Manila.

The incoming initial batch of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech totaling 117,000 doses will be used for the inoculation of healthcare workers included in the initial master list from hospitals, he added.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine supply under the COVAX facility is expected to arrive in the second or third week of February.

The government aims to complete the administration of vaccines to healthcare workers in less than a month.

“So, inaasahan po natin na sa buong linggong ito, sa buong buwan na darating ay at least lahat iyong medical frontliners at saka iyong immediate na may priority ay at least nasimulan na. Pero definitely, hindi po aabot ng isang buwan para matapos natin ang lahat ng mga medical frontliners,” Roque said.

The government is aiming to vaccinate up to 70 million people against COVID-19 this year, with priority given to healthcare workers, senior citizens, the indigent population, and uniformed personnel. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

8 million people immunized vs COVID-19 in PH mass vaccination drive – NVOC

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – At least 8 million individuals out of the 9 million target vaccinees were vaccinated against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the three-day mass vaccination drive, the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, who chairs the NVOC, said a total of 2,709,344 COVID-19 shots were administered on the first day of the campaign; 2,475,479 on day 2; and 2,829,928 on Wednesday.

Based on current data, the running total of administered doses was at 8,014,751 as of 6 a.m. Friday.

Cabotaje said the figure is expected to increase when reports from local government units come in.

The NVOC chair said the top performing regions in terms of the number of jabs administered were Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Central Visayas.

“Together, they have accounted for about a third of the 8 million jabs that have been produced during the three days,” she said in a televised public briefing.

Provinces with the highest vaccination outputs during the three-day drive were Cebu, Negros Occidental, and Cavite.

Authorities initially aimed to inoculate at least 9 million individuals during the three-day vaccination drive from November 29 to December 1.

The vaccination program has been extended until Friday.

Another round of nationwide immunization against COVID-19 will be held from December 15 to 17.

Airline companies rehiring laid-off crew as flights increase

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– Some airline companies have started the gradual rehiring of their flight and ground crew that were laid-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of flights continues to increase.

AirAsia said they will slowly reactivate over 400 former employees as domestic flights to some tourist destinations resume.

These workers include cabin crews, pilot ground staff and engineering personnel.

“Ngayon, we’re activating starting December. Mag-a-undergo na ng training yung at least 15 percent and then effective January 1, 2022, laha nitong mga All-Stars natin na nag-hibernate ay gradual na ring ire-reintegrate sa ating linya,” AirAsia spokesperson Steve Dailisan said.

AirAsia said it will also double the flights to several local destinations such as in Caticlan, which is the gateway to the world-renowned Boracay Island.

Airliner Cebu Pacific also announced it will be rehiring staff who were furloughed during the pandemic to prepare for the anticipated increase in domestic and international flights.

“Right now, we’re very prepared definitely. Our staff are fully-trained and are actually fully-vaccinated also—yung active flying crew natin. So, additional safety yan for our passengers,” said Michelle Lim, Cebu Pacific Corporate Communications Manager.

Cebu Pacific said it will also increase flights to six local destinations including Boracay Island via the Caticlan Airport, Bohol, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and General Santos City.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) also announced it will operate more domestic and international flights amid increasing flight frequencies and booking.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said they are also planning to reactivate furloughed workers, but clarified they are yet to rehire laid-off workers as operations remain limited.

“By December, it will be one 1,350 in terms of cabin crew count that will be assigned to serve our flights because the number of cabin crews this year and at present and previous year was very much less because of the number of flights,” she.

Airline companies reminded passengers to be at the airport at least three hours before their scheduled flight and ensure they bring with them all travel documents required for their trip. (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

PH to allow entry of select vaccinated foreign travelers starting Dec. 1 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is set to reopen its doors to select travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Malacañang announced Friday.

In a Palace briefing, acting Presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that starting December 1 to 15, fully vaccinated nationals of non-visa required countries will be allowed entry to the Philippines.

The new policy was approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) under Resolution No. 150-A.

The list of countries whose nationals are allowed to enter the Philippines without visa for a period of stay of 30 days may be view here.

Nograles, however, noted that these travelers should satisfy the following conditions:

  • Their passport should be valid for at least 6 months at the time of arrival
  • They should have a return or outbound ticket to their country of origin or next destination
  • Prior to arrival in Philippines, they should have stayed exclusively for 14 days in a Green List area with low COVID-19 cases
  • They must have proof of vaccination against COVID-19

Fully vaccinated foreign nationals bound for the Philippines shall present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they will not go to a facility-based quarantine and no on-arrival RT-PCR test will be required.

However, passengers will be asked to self-monitor for any symptom until the 14th day with the first day being the date of arrival, Nograles said.

Travelers merely transiting through Green List areas shall not be deemed as having come from these territories if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry.

The testing and quarantine protocols of minors shall follow the testing and quarantine protocol of the parent/guardian traveling with them.

For those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements, Nograles said they shall be governed by the protocols for unvaccinated individuals coming from Green List areas.

They will also be required to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day; and self-monitor until the 14th day with the date of arrival being the first day.

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