Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday appealed to the government to include vendors, delivery riders and other workers in the community in its COVID-19 vaccination list of priorities.
“If the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) reclassifies local (government) officials to be vaccinated immediately, they should also include vendors, grocery workers, delivery riders, and other economic frontliners in the A4 category,” said Binay in a statement.
“What they are doing is also important. They hold the solution to jumpstarting the economy,” he added.
The government stated earlier that the A4 priority group -- media men, those working in commuter transport, medical products, hotel employees, government employees, religious leaders and security personnel -- was expected to be inoculated between May and July.
“The reason, according to the government, was that COVAX Facility would not allow it. Was the reclassification of local executives to be vaccinated first approved by COVAX? Just asking,” said Binay.
Some observers said public utility vehicle drivers, market vendors, service riders and other workers in the community were vulnerable and most exposed to other people and possibly the coronavirus disease.
On May 1, local government units in Metro Manila vaccinated thousands of overseas Filipino workers and minimum wage earners as a Labor Day tribute to workers.
The Labor department, which initiated the program, stated earlier that 3,000 OFWs and 2,000 minimum wage earners, both part of the Priority Group A4 or the frontline personnel in essential sectors, would be vaccinated from a list submitted by labor groups and those provided by OFW organizations.
The government is targeting to vaccinate 120,000 people per day beginning next month in Metro Manila.
The country has so far received 7,764,050 total vaccine doses from various suppliers including the COVAX facility as of May 11 and 83 percent of this has been distributed to 3,688 vaccination sites across the country.
Following the center of gravity principle, more vaccines will be allocated to the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Pampanga, Cebu, Davao, and other areas with high numbers of active cases to contain the spread of COVID.
Interior and Local Government undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said LGUs must ensure a sufficient vaccination workforce in their localities to support the increase in vaccination.