COVID-19 task force finalizes 4th priority list in PH vaccination drive

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — The country's COVID-19 task force has revised the list of workers deemed as essential during the pandemic and to be prioritized for vaccination.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Friday released the new and final list of the A4 priority group.

It now includes frontline workers in commuter transport, wet and dry markets, food service, news media, education, specific government agencies, and overseas workers. They will be vaccinated after the ongoing inoculation of senior citizens and people with co-morbidities.

The 17 subgroups are listed as follows:

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 news media, both private and government

A4.10 - customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution, 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 (DFA) personnel in consular operations, and

A4.17 - Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

The Department of Health said the list is based on the studies conducted by the National Economic and Development Authority as to what constitutes as an "essential worker."

"Tuloy-tuloy sila kahit may pandemya. Kahit nage-ECQ tayo, nagtatrabaho pa rin sila, that's why we identified them as essential," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media briefing.

[Translation: They continue to work even with the pandemic. Even with the imposition of ECQ, they still work that's why we classified them as essential.

She added guidelines and schedule of vaccination have yet to be finalized, but she said it could be held simultaneously with the inoculation of A2 and A3 once the supply stabilizes.

The Health Department has previously urged companies and agencies to start issuing Certificate of A4 Eligibility to prevent delays once the rollout for the A4 group begins.

The certificates have to be signed by the owner of the company or the head of the human resources unit. They are also encouraged to provide logistics support, such as the transportation of the personnel.