Workers from the Department of Health will be the last of the health workers to receive a vaccine against COVID-19, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said Sunday.
In a Dobol B sa News TV interview, Cabotaje said the government will give priority to health workers in the health facilities and those involved in contact tracing, testing and taking care of COVID-19 patients.
Also to be given priority in the vaccination program are the workers in the rural health units and in the barangay to whom patients first go when they experience symptoms of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Senator Pia Cayetano has urged the National Task Force Against COVID-19 to include informal sector workers in the priority list of vaccine recipients under the government's vaccination program.
"I just wanted to be sure because I didn’t see them in the priority list. Even the informal sectors in the tourism [industry]—those selling souvenirs and even the masseurs. I think they are very vital to the stability and improvement of our economy," she said.
The Philippines targets to inoculate 50 million to 70 million individuals within the year, and an estimated 50,000 individuals are expected to be vaccinated in February.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the vaccine manufactured by American corporation Pfizer could be the first to be used against COVID-19 in the country as the COVAX Facility would have an early rollout of the brand.
Cabotaje said that next week and in the first week of February, the Health department would start going around communities to finalize the master list of individuals eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
In the National Capital Region, the department had already identified the number of hospital staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Cabotaje said.
After healthcare workers, employees of select government offices will be vaccinated, to be followed by indigent senior citizens and other seniors and indigents, according to the government's vaccination roadmap.
The government has set aside P82.5 billion for its COVID-19 vaccination program, of which P2.5 billion will come from the Department of Health's budget allocation for 2021, while the P10 billion will be sourced from the COVID-19 vaccination program of the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act.
Meanwhile, the remaining P70 billion will be sourced from the loans provided by multilateral lenders, the Philippines’ bilateral partners, and/or the domestic market.